Tilton Wins Girls National Prep Basketball Championship - Tilton School

Tilton Wins Girls National Prep Basketball Championship

Rams beat Fort Erie International in the Finals of the Inaugural Event

Tilton School was crowned champion of the inaugural Girls National Prep Basketball Championship after a 67-55 win over Fort Erie International on Friday, March 8. The event, hosted by Girls Hoops Series at Clark University in Worcester, MA, brought seven of the top prep programs from around North America together for the first time to compete for the title. The Rams rose to the top with a pair of double-digit victories, capping off an incredible 31-4 season — the most wins in program history.

“The feeling is indescribable,” says Head Coach Tara Brisson. “We felt incredibly grateful to receive an invitation to play, but to win, to hold that trophy, is a feeling I will never forget.” 

After trailing 14-10 in the opening quarter, Tilton outscored Fort Erie 57-41 the rest of the way, including an 11-0 run to put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter. Team captain and the tournament Most Outstanding Player Ahnay Adams ’24 led the Rams with a game-high 29 points to go with seven assists, six rebounds, and two steals. Adams was joined in double-digits by Colleen Phiri ’25 (16 points, 10 rebounds) and Sophia LeGoullon (11 points, six rebounds, three of four 3-pointers). Tilton shot 52.4% from the floor as a team and held a significant advantage at the free-throw line, making 17 of their 24 attempts. 

“The level of basketball in the championship was elite,” added Brisson. “Two outstanding teams battling, possession after possession, until we eventually made a defensive change that allowed us to use our extra gear in transition and pull away.”

In this first-ever, invite-only, event featuring teams from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Ontario (Canada), and Rhode Island, Tilton received the number one seed and a bye into the semifinals. Facing off against Western Reserve Academy, the Rams got off to an early 22-8 advantage in the first quarter and never looked back on their way to a decisive 73-47 victory. Adams led the way with 21 points and six rebounds while Phiri racked up 18 points and seven boards. Brooke Muller ’26 chipped in 10 points and nine rebounds with a near-perfect day from the floor (4 for 5 FG, 2 for 2 FT).

No player in the tournament performed at a higher level than Adams, who racked up 50 total points on 56.6% shooting, including 50% from the 3-point line. 

“My teammates were in the right place at the right time,” says Adams. “They opened up the floor for me and they allowed me to just hoop. They encouraged me to keep going so I just kept going.”

Adams, who is committed to the University of Miami and is a two-time New Hampshire Gatorade Player of the Year, added that the team’s loss in the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) championship against Noble and Greenough School (MA) inspired them to bring their best to the National Championship.

“I went and watched the Nobles game and looked at what I could do to put my team in a better position,” she says. “Bouncing back from that loss, which really hurt, showed that we’re capable of beating any team that’s in front of us. To know our hard work paid off — watching my teammates jumping up and down — it’s amazing.”

The title makes Tilton the only school to have won a national prep championship in both girls and boys basketball, with the latter having earned their crown in 2009. That landmark victory is commemorated inside the gym on campus and served as motivation for the team, according to Adams.

“Walking by the plaque for the boys in the MARC, I always said ‘I want to win one of those,’” recalls Adams. “You can never take that away from us — being the first team [to win the girls national championship].”

Now at the end of her 15th year as head coach, Brisson raved about the make up and character of this year’s team. Despite a pair of early season losses as the team worked to find its identity with only five returning players, she says they never stopped working.

“To lose in the NEPSAC Championship on a day when we didn’t play our best basketball and then redeem themselves on an even bigger stage — this team deserved that moment. I have never enjoyed myself more than this season; we laughed, we worked, we grew, and we succeeded. I’m most proud of them not because they are national champions, but because they are the best people.”