SHS Black Knights Win Girls State Championship


SHS basketball team poses for a team photo after being crowned state champions

Teddy Marantz, Sports Editor

On Sunday, March 20, the Stamford High School girls basketball team concluded a long season with a tough victory over the Greenwich High School Cardinals to win their first state championship since 1923.

FCIAC Player of the Year Tiana England had an unusually rough game, shooting 4-20 from the floor, scoring only 10 points. However, England was still able to carry the team by controlling the tempo and distributing the ball to her teammates. Sophomore Alexa Kellner had 19 points, shooting 50% from the floor. With just 2:15 to go in the 4th quarter, Kellner contributed to the Knights 7-0 run, hitting a big three pointer that gave them a 58-48 lead. Kellner said, “This season has been unforgettable. We came together as a team and it showed every single game. We built as individuals and a team every day in practice and it brought us to Mohegan. This is something I’m never going to forget.”

Both Kellner and forward Marthe Guirand were tasked with guarding Greenwich star senior Abbie Wolf. Wolf shot 6-6 from the field and scored 14 points. Despite this seemingly great performance in the books, Guirand and Kellner played tough against Wolf. They were able to keep her away from the ball throughout much of the game. At times, Wolf was even visibly frustrated with the tough physical defense being played against her.

Black Knight Nation at Mohegan Sun for the CIAC Class LL Girls State Championship game
Black Knight Nation at Mohegan Sun for the CIAC Class LL Girls State Championship game

The win capped off a great season and also sends the four seniors on the team out with a bang. When reflecting on the championship win, senior guard Tiana England quoted Olympic wrestler Dan Gable. Gable once said, “Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.” England (if you don’t already know) is taking her basketball talents to St. John’s University in New York next year.

Reflecting on her last high school basketball game, senior guard Mackenzie Brown said, “I honestly couldn’t imagine ending my last year of basketball any other way. It’s so unreal and I don’t think it’s really hit me yet. This team is unbelievable and I’m so glad we got to make Stamford High history together.” Brown also commented on what it’s been like to play with one of her closest friends, senior and team co-captain Madison Johnson. “Playing with one of my best friends all throughout high school and even in middle school has been an amazing experience. We’ve gone through it all together and I couldn’t imagine it without her always being by my side. We really get each other and are always there to pick each other up when we’re down.”

Head coach Diane Burns said, “This has been an amazing end to an epic run for some of the best people around. From the players, to the coaches, to the fans, this has been such a magical journey.” Burns then said, “When a selfless group of people decides to put their mind to something, amazing things can happen.”

The Knights finished their season red hot, with their last loss occurring on February 3, more than six weeks ago. The only two teams they’d lost to all season, Ridgefield and Greenwich, ended up falling to them in the quarterfinals and championship of the state tournament respectively.

Moving forward, the Stamford girls basketball program has a bright future. Although they are losing four seniors, including star guard Tiana England, they will welcome back Alexa Kellner, Marthe Guirand, Andrea O’Connor, Camille Martinez, and Brooke Kelly, all of whom played a significant amount of time this season. All of these players got better and better as the season progressed.

Congratulations to all the girls on an unbelievable season.