East Central falls short of title game
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Saturday, March 09, 2013
3/09/13 at 6:27 AM
For the first time in four years, East Central's girls won't be playing in the final of the Class 5A state basketball tournament.
Edmond Deer Creek used a fourth-quarter burst to turn back the Cards 48-43 in Friday's semifinal game at the Mabee Center.
"It's going to feel strange not playing on Saturday," East Central coach Samy Mack said.
East Central finished runner-up the past three years under Mack and had played in the state final in six of his first eight seasons, winning titles in 2006-07 and also finishing runner-up in 2005.
Dakota Vann and Bayli Blanchard scored 15 each and Ashley Gibson had eight of her 13 points in the fourth quarter as the Antlers rallied from a 35-30 deficit.
Deer Creek (26-2) advanced to play No. 1 Shawnee in Saturday's 6 p.m. final at the Mabee Center. The defending champion Wolves needed overtime to beat Carl Albert 50-46 in the other semifinal.
Darreion Clark scored 16 for the Cards (18-9), who had a series of crippling injuries over the last seven weeks of the season.
Senior standout and Arkansas signee Bria Pitts was lost in early February with a knee injury and sophomore forward Marcia Reed has been hobbled by a high ankle sprain since mid-January.
Sophomore 6-foot-2 post Sharayla Brown injured her ankle before the regional tournament and also had flu-like symptoms Friday. She went scoreless in a total of nine minutes. Reed played 27 minutes and scored two points.
"We're not making excuses," Mack said. "We just didn't get over the hump, and we ran into a real good ball team today. They went big on us and shut down our inside game."
East Central led 33-30 after three quarters and Ariel Williams' foul shots gave the Cards their biggest lead at 35-30 with 7:04 left, but the Antlers scored the next nine points.
Vann hit a tying 3-pointer with 6:15 left and the Antlers went ahead to stay as Gibson scored the next two baskets. Deer Creek's lead reached seven, but Lauren Billie's trey and another pair of Williams foul shots made it 45-43 with 37.6 seconds left.
Deer Creek's Whitney Jones made two free throws with 25 seconds left, and Williams missed a guarded, off-balance trey with 10 seconds left.
"We've been behind in the fourth qauarter several times this year, so I thought we'd be able to handle it," Deer Creek coach Totsy Manning said.
The Antlers will be playing for their third goal ball overall and second under Manning, having won in 2006 and 1966.
Shawnee 50, Carl Albert 46: Trailing 35-31 after three quarters, the Wolves (26-2) rallied to lead 43-37 with 1:57 left, but couldn't seal the deal in regulation.
Gioya Carter, a University of Oklahoma signee, scored 25 points and hit a tying 3-pointer with eight seconds left in regulation. Bailey Taylor hit the go-ahead basket in overtime and Monique Tramble added two foul shots with 23.9 seconds left.
Micaela Yu had 19 points and Taylor 15 to pace the Wolves, who won last year's gold ball in only their third appearance at the state tournament.
Thursday at Catoosa
East Central 54, Del City 50
Edmond Deer Creek 42, Collinsville 40
Shawnee 59, Memorial 35
Carl Albert 44, Tahlequah 37
Friday at Mabee Center
Edmond Deer Creek 48, East Central 43
Shawnee 50, Carl Albert 46, OT
Saturday at ORU Mabee Center
No. 2 Edmond Deer Creek (26-2) vs. No. 1 Shawnee (26-2), 6 p.m.
EDMOND DEER CREEK 48, EAST CENTRAL 43
Edmond Deer Creek (26-2): Blanchard 15, Vann 15, Gibson 13, Jones 4, Adair 1.
East Central (18-9): Clark 16, Williams 13, Billie 5, White 5, Reed 2, Arnold 1, Mack 1.
SHAWNEE 50, CARL ALBERT 46, OT
Shawnee (26-2): Yu 19, Taylor 15, Monique Tramble 11, Simmons 2, Maytubby 2, Shaiann Tramble 1.
Carl Albert (22-7): Carter 25, Duchane 12, Gilbert 5, Pearson 2, Smith 2.
Mike Brown 918-581-8390
East Central's Darreion Clark goes up for a shot in front of Edmond Deer Creek defenders during Friday's 4A state semifinal game at the Mabee Center. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World