SACRAMENTO -- Before the fourth quarter began in Saturday's California Interscholastic Federation Open Division state championship game, the five starters for the Bishop O'Dowd High girls basketball team had a moment where champions are made.
"We gave each other this look, no smiles," the Dragons' Oderah Chidom said. "We can't let up. Anything can happen."
Holding a seven-point lead over Windward-Los Angeles after three quarters, Bishop O'Dowd's starting five put the throttle down. They scored all 20 of their team's points in the fourth quarter and led the Dragons to a 60-45 victory at Sleep Train Arena.
The victory avenged Bishop O'Dowd's loss in December to Windward, its only loss to a California team this season, and cemented the Dragons' status as one of the best high school girls basketball teams the Bay Area has ever produced.
The Dragons (30-3) ended their season with 24 straight wins, including 22 by double digits, and their closest margin of victory was six points during that streak.
Entering the game, Windward (32-1) was ranked third in the MaxPreps' Xcellent 25 national high school girls basketball rankings, and O'Dowd was ranked eighth.
Bishop O'Dowd coach Malik McCord didn't want to touch the subject about best ever, but added that, "If we play as a team, we're better than anybody in the country by far."
The Dragons showed Saturday what has made them so dangerous. If Windward tried to take away the Dragons' inside game, Ariell Bostick opened up the floor with 3-pointers, of which she had three. When the outside game was taken away, Bostick found the Dragons' outstanding post players inside for close baskets.
Bostick, who scored a team-high 17 points Saturday, dictated the game's pace in the fourth quarter. With the Dragons running the floor, frontline players K.C. Waters, Breanna Brown and Chidom combined for seven field goals and 14 points in the fourth quarter. The three post players and Bostick were starters along with sophomore Asha Thomas.
"I found openings and got the ball to my posts, who were wide open at the basket," said Bostick, who had three assists.
Waters, who grabbed a game-high 20 rebounds and scored 12 points, thought the key part of the game in the third quarter.
"I felt we broke their spirit in the third quarter," she said.
Windward, which had trailed by as much as 17 points in the second quarter, drew to within three points early in the third quarter on a 3-pointer by Macchiati Smith. But a layup by Bostick started a 10-6 O'Dowd run to end the quarter.
Waters and Chidom opened the fourth quarter with baskets to give O'Dowd a 44-33 lead with 5:55 remaining. Windward cut the lead to nine twice after that, but an inside basket by Chidom with 3:42 remaining gave the Dragons a double-digit lead to stay at 48-37.
Brown and Thomas scored in double figures with 10 points apiece. Brown had a double-double with 14 rebounds, and Chidom added 12 rebounds, as the Dragons had a 61-36 rebounding advantage.
Jordin Canada scored a game-high 19 points for Windward.