CREVE COEUR • Slow starts have been an issue at times this season for the Whitfield girls basketball team.
But that was certainly not the case Friday night in the Class 3 District 5 championship game.
The Warriors scored the game's first 13 points in just three and a half minutes. They cruised to a 67-28 victory over Principia for their fifth consecutive district title.
"The start of our games has been a primary concern," Whitfield coach Michael Slater said. "We just have not been having a fast enough start.
"We focused on that the last couple of weeks and in our two games at districts, we started off well."
The Warriors scored 25 points in the first quarter. Jade Moore led the way with 10 of those points.
"We really came out with a lot of energy," Whitfield senior Tajah Foster-Walker said. "I know that every game now could be my last one. Every game counts."
Whitfield led 42-18 at halftime. They scored 67 points despite the entire fourth quarter being played with a running clock.
But the defense may have been the key to the game.
Principia's Jordan Frederickson came into the game averaging more than 21 points a game. She was held to three points and did not have a field goal.
"We knew that Frederickson was their main scorer," Slater said. "We wanted to make things tough for her. Tajah started off against her until she got into some foul trouble. We used different combinations but didn't do anything special. We just did not want to give her any clean looks."
The Panthers had just seven field goals in the game.
"We put them on the free-throw line a little too much in the first half," Slater said. "I think they had 11 or 12 free throws. But we did a very good job overall defensively."
Principia senior Georgia Rather had a solid finale to her high school career as she scored 13 points, including three 3-pointers.
The Panthers finished 15-13.
Whitfield had three players score in double figures. Moore led the way with 16 points, 13 coming in the first half. Kelsey Blakemore added 14 and Foster-Walker 13 for Whitfield, which improved to 17-10.
The Warriors move on to a Class 3 sectional game against Cardinal Ritter at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday at Webster Groves High School. Cardinal Ritter defeated Metro 51-34 in the Class 3 District 6 title game Friday night.
The teams played on Jan. 8, with Cardinal Ritter winning 47-44.
"We lost on a buzzer beater," Foster-Walker said. "We are looking forward to playing them again."
Slater feels his team will be ready for the rematch.
"We lost a tough one against them," he said. "But we are a different team now. We were figuring out who we were at that time. I think we have figured some things out and I think we are capable of surprising some people."