EAST LANCING, MICHIGAN (WLNS) – Any sport, winning the championship back to back – it’s a difficult feat. But the Fowler basketball team welcomed the challenge.

The Eagles won the state title in Division 4 in 2021 and regained the crown in 2022, winning Saturday over Plymouth Christian 61-46.

Fowler overcame the biggest hurdle of the season in the District Championships, defeating rivals in Portland St. Patrick after losing in both regular season meetings to the Shamrocks. After the Eagles won the district title, they won all their games with a double-digit score on the way to the state champion.

Senior Mia Riley led the Eagles with 15 points, and her sister Emma Riley, who scored 1,000 career points in the title race, scored 14 points. The Eagles also received a key contribution from senior Grace Epka, who added 10 points.

“It’s great,” Fowler coach Nathan Gerge said. “I don’t think I was very impressed, but seeing the excitement on the girls’ faces, I realize it’s really happening.”

Epky said, “To be able to grow up with these girls and go through years with them, it’s just amazing to win two wins in a row. There is nothing like that. ”

Entering the season, the Eagles knew there would be a target on their backs. All Fowler needed was to see a competitor at the Portland St. Patrick Conference as the No. 1 seed in Division 4.

“Last year, we knew we were capable of it, even with such negative comments, such as, ‘people are leaving because of COVID.’ This year we had something to prove, especially by taking 2nd place, not 1st, ”Mia Riley said.

When Fowler won it all last season, it was his first state title since 1991. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire Fowler community was not allowed to attend. So winning it this year with a normal, unlimited crowd was all the Eagles could ask for.

“Seeing all our fans there, it was very different than last year,” Emma Riley said. “This time it feels like everyone is behind us.”

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