Rosemont caps perfect CSAC campaign with win over Keystone in title game

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ROSEMONT - The first recruit that Rayne Reber was able to land as Rosemont head coach stood at the top of the ladder with scissors in her hand.

It has been a long climb for Ayanna Thompson to this point. And yet, she was the one with scissors in her hand and the final pieces of the north basket wrapped around her neck. 

"There is no words that could describe the feeling that I have right now," Reber said. "I knew that if I could get the pieces around Ayanna, we could make an NCAA Tournament. And this year, we had all the pieces around her and we had all the players working together to win a championship."

It may have felt like a foregone conclusion for a long time now. After all, when a team doesn't lose a game between Christmas and the beginning of March, there is a certain air of invincibility that is generated.  

And yet, it was the fact that the Ravens finished the job emphatically, winning the program's first Colonial States Athletic Conference title with a 80-55 win over Keystone College Saturday evening to punch a ticket to the NCAA Tournament as the conference's automatic bid recipient.

"We deserved this," said Thompson, who was named the CSAC Tournament's Most Valuable Player after her 15 point, six rebound and seven assist performance in the championship game "We worked hard this entire year. We had set a goal early in the year and it was to just go out and win."

"We've been working towards this since October," said junior forward Ke'alohilani Naone-Carter, who finished on Saturday with 15 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals on Saturday. "We had to go through a lot of things through the year. But this feels great."

In that sense, the Ravens championship game was similar to a lot of other evenings during this 24-3 season that continues to feature a school record winning streak that reached 19 games on Saturday. It was defense early and jumping out to a huge lead that ended up building the mountain too high for the Giants to climb.

Rosemont held Keystone to 1-for-16 shooting in the first quarter and 0-for-7 from beyond the 3-point arc in the first quarter. The end result was the Ravens grabbing a 19-4 cushion after a quarter.  Keystone would play it close for most of the night, getting within 12 at one point in the 2nd half before the game was put on ice in the fourth quarter.

Ashley Murray was the leading scorer for the Ravens with 19 points and 14 rebounds. Jayme Byers scored 15 points and added 12 rebounds coming off the bench.

The Ravens will find out their tournament path in the NCAA Tournament on Monday when they gather at Cardinal Hall for the Division III selection show, which will start at 2:30. (The show can also be watched on at that time.)

"It is important that we all keep playing together as a team," Reber said. "Everyone on this team has a job and a role. And when we work together as a team, we know that we are capable of doing some incredible things."

The next step was taken on Saturday. It is a moment that had been building for a long time. And it was a view they will never forget.