VALLEY PARK • Scoring depth was a strength Saturday for the Whitfield girls basketball team.
The Warriors had four players in double figures during a 70-57 victory against Principia in the Class 3 District 4 championship at Valley Park High.
“So many times, people try to identify a team or a unit with one face,” Whitfield coach Michael Slater said. “There are multiple faces in there that can step up and they did that today.”
Senior guard Catalina Cuevas led Whitfield with 17 points, with sophomore guard Nia Griffin and sophomore forward Aijha Blackwell scoring 16 each.
Freshman guard Jade Moore added 12 for the Warriors (21-7, No. 7 in the STLhighschoolsports.com small-schools rankings), who won their third consecutive district title.
“Nia Griffin has a superb effort today,” Slater said. “Jade can shoot the thing form the parking lot. Whenever you have kids that can play like that, you're never out of it.”
Whitfield advanced to face Park Hills Central in the Class 3 sectional round at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday at Jefferson College. Central has beaten Whitfield the last two seasons in the same round.
Griffin scored 13 points in the first half as Whitfield, playing at a frenetic pace, led 40-24 at halftime.
Blackwell, one of the area’s leading scorers, had seven points in the first quarter but did not score in the second quarter while battling foul trouble.
“This feels great because all of our conditioning pays off and there is a lot of pain when you condition,” Moore said. “You don't feel it as much when you're in the game. It is tough (missing Blackwell) because then each person has to step up.”
Principia (21-7) was led by senior guard Caitlyn Demaree, who had a game-high 20 points. Junior guard Kate Hinds added 13 points.
The Panthers have not advanced past the district tournament since 2012.
“Our game plan worked perfectly. They just made too many shots, too many jumpers,” Principia coach Shad Nichols said. “When they have that many kids that are going to make jumpers, what are you going to do? The pace was break-neck, but I was OK with it because we can hit shots and we can score. I felt like the openings to their defense worked to our advantage.”