As much as the Bishop Grimes girls basketball team has accomplished in the past, its 18-0 run through the 2009-10 regular season ranks with anything else.
From its perfect mark in the OHSL Patriot division to marquee non-league wins over the likes of Rochester Mercy and Nazareth, the Cobras have met every situation with first-rate efforts.
The completion of a league sweep came Tuesday night, at Cato-Meridian, with another defensive gem that resulted in a 46-30 win over the Blue Devils.
More than half of Cato's points came in the fourth quarter, long after the outcome was settled. Grimes only allowed four points in each of the first two periods as its trademark pressure led to long Blue Devil droughts -- and baskets on the other end.
From the offensive side, Amanda Marcely continued to shine, as the senior forward put up 14 points. Andrea Blake had seven points, while Emma Kelley and Ali Kelley each had six points.
Now came the Cobras' final test, a Thursday-night trip to Henninger, who was observing Senior Night and, at the same time, was trying to get into the Section III Class AA playoffs with one more win.
Here, Grimes would take charge early, then give up that advantage before a strong final push produced a 64-57 victory over the Black Knights -- and a perfect regular-season mark, the second in the team's history (the first came in 1986-87, when the Cobras went to the state finals).
Grimes exploited Henninger's 1-3-1 defense early, with 3-pointers from Emma Kelley and Amelia Heiselman and inside baskets from Marcely, and bolted to a 16-6 first-quarter lead. Despite the Black Knights stepping up, the Cobras still had a 31-21 lead at the break.
Almost by herself, Shalisia Jackson, Henninger's all-time leading scorer, led her team back in the third quarter. Of her 31 points, 14 came in this frame, and Grimes saw its margin shrink to a single point, 43-42, with one period left.
But the Cobras ignored the mounting pressure and, late in the fourth quarter, preserved its undefeated mark by having Heiselman and Erranan Shattuck hit nine of 10 free throws between them.
Overall, Marcely poured in 22 points, while Heiselman gained 13 points. Shattuck finished with nine points and Kelley got seven points.