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To say the showdown between SEC White champion Chelsea and SEC Red champion Ann Arbor Pioneer was a battle might be an understatement.

The Bulldogs entered the game looking to complete a 20-0 season for the first time in school history and Pioneer (15-4) was looking to prove that they are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the Division 1 state tournament.

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The defenses dominated from the start.

Pioneer hit a triple on the first trip down the floor, but the Chelsea defense locked down and would not allow another point the rest of the quarter.

Chelsea on the other hand, could not find the basket until Maddie Vasquez scored with 2:30 left in the first and Pioneer would hold a 3-2 lead after one.

AJ Fullerton sparked the Bulldog offense to start the second quarter with a pair of triples. Riley Davis and Vasquez each hit a pair of free throws and Chelsea took a 12-5 lead with 2:19 left in the half.

AJ Fullerton scored a team high 23 points, including six triples

Pioneer’s Whitney Gallagher hit a deep triple at the buzzer to cut the Bulldogs lead to 13-9 at the break and fired up Pioneer.

Pioneer came out the second half and fed their 6 foot center Adaria Turman and it paid off as Turman scored the first eight points of the half for Pioneer, but Chelsea countered with two more triples by Fullerton and they lead 19-15 midway through the third.

The game would be tied at 19 as Pioneer rallied back, but a Briana Hay lay-in gave the Bulldogs a 21-19 lead. Pioneer split a pair at the line and got the offensive rebound and was fouled. They split the pair and the game was tied at 21 after three.

Chelsea continued to work the ball inside with Turman in foul trouble for Pioneer, but they missed several easy shots in the paint and the game stayed close.

Pioneer took a 28-25 lead, but Fullerton tied it at 28 with her fifth triple of the night with 2:45 left.

Felicia Stewart answered with a triple of her own for a 33-30 lead with 1:50 left.

Fullerton went to the line and hit the first free throw. She missed the second and Pioneer got the rebound, but the player fell to the ground and appeared to travel, but was awarded a timeout with Pioneer leading 33-31

Lauren DeWolf sank a pair of free throws for a four-point lead 35-31, but Davis hit a driving lay-up to cut it to 35-33 with 55 seconds left.

Riley Davis hit two big baskets late and finished with eight points

DeWolf calmly sank two more free throws and Chelsea turned the ball over. Mya Hicks sank both from the stripe for a 39-33 lead

Fullerton was fouled on a three-point attempt and sunk all three shots to cut the lead to 39-36 with 33 seconds left.

DeWolf split a pair at the line to make it 40-36 and Fullerton nailed her sixth triple of the night to cut the lead to 40-39 with 6.9 left.

DeWolf was fouled and sank one of two, but Chelsea had no timeouts and their last second half court shot was off the mark as they fell for the first time this season 41-39.

Fullerton finished with a team high 23 points, including the six triples.

Davis finished with eight points, Vasquez four, Hay and Madeleine Kennedy two each.

Pioneer’s last 10 points of the game came from the free throw line as they sank 10 of 12 in the final three minutes.

They were led by DeWolf with 11 points. Turman finished with nine, Hicks seven, and Stewart five.

Chelsea finished the regular season with a school record 19-1 record. They begin the D2 state tournament Monday at Onsted against the Wildacts (13-7) at 7:00 PM.

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