Katie Smith looks up at the scoreboard in an 11-point loss to East Central
Chelsea McKenzie (right) fights for the ball in the third quarter
U'Knique Gaines (13) and her teammates pose for pictures after the win
Originally Published: Mar 3, 2011 10:12 PM CDT
Bobby Lewis Oklahoma Sports Reporter
TULSA, Oklahoma – The top-ranked East Central Cardinals won the 5A girls’ area tournament with a convincing 50-39 over Bishop Kelley. U’knique Gaines led the Cardinals with a game-high 20 points.
The Lady Comets and Cardinals were tied at 27 midway through the third quarter. East Central picked up the intensity on defense for the remainder of the quarter and finished the frame on an 8-0 run.
Bishop Kelley tried to force its way back in the game by feeding Chelsea McKenzie in the paint, but the junior was bottled up inside by the Cardinals’ post players. Madi Susmilch hit a few outside shots to trim the Cardinals’ lead to six points with 1:22 to play in the fourth quarter.
East Central played keep-away in the final three minutes of the game. The Lady Comets’ defense chased after the ball, frantically trying to foul.
East Central made the clutch free throws in the final minute. The Cardinals made 7-of-8 from the line to ice the game. Ariel Williams was a perfect 4-for-4. Bria Pitts added 8 points for the Cardinals.
East Central won three straight games this postseason to claim the area title. They’ve outscored their opponents by a combined score of 183-110 in those contests. They advance to the state quarterfinal round on March 10th.
Bishop Kelley still has a chance to make it to the state tournament. They need to beat the Booker T. Washington Lady Hornets on Saturday, March 5th. That game will tip from Broken Arrow High School at 3 p.m. The loser is eliminated.
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