McGuinness Girls Beat East Central to Win First Gold Ball

Thursday, July 28th 2011, 6:11 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Mar 12, 2011 7:43 PM CDT

Bobby Lewis
Oklahoma Sports Reporter

TULSA, Okla. – The Bishop McGuinness Lady Fighting Irish (27-2) survived a huge second half run by the East Central Lady Cardinals (21-2) to win the 5A state championship 44-36 Saturday night. It’s their first state title in school history.

An early 13-1 run over a five minutes stretch between the first and second quarters put the Lady Irish up 17-3. The largely pro-Cards crowd was nearly silent for most of the first half.

Bria Pitts’ layup at the 4:38 mark of the second quarter was the first field goal of the game for East Central. The next trip down the floor, Darreion Clark hit a 3-pointer to pull the Lady Cards to within 17-8.

Bishop McGuinness closed the half strong. Junior forward Elyse Hight hit a hook shot with one minute to play that gave the Lady Irish an 11-point cushion at halftime.

The third quarter belonged to East Central. The Lady Cardinals come out of the locker room on a frenzied pace, scoring 9 quick points to close the gap to just 4 points in four minutes. The shots that were falling for the Irish in the first half were hitting all iron in the third quarter. The Lady Irish made just one field goal in the first half of the quarter.

After an East Central steal, Maursheka Reid hit a layup at the third quarter buzzer to cut the lead to 29-26. The Lady Cards outscored the Lady Irish 16-8 in the frame.

East Central go the lead down to 35-32 with just over three minutes to go in the fourth quarter, but Caroline Cameron hit a clutch 3-pointer from right in front of the Irish bench to push the lead back to six points.

The nerves were evident in the first quarter for both teams. The Lady Irish led by just two points after five minutes but opened up the scoring with baskets on consecutive trips to take a 9-2 lead.

East Central couldn’t capitalize on any of the Lady Irish turnovers and committed too many of their own. The Lady Cards didn’t hit a field goal in the first quarter and made just 2-of-4 free throws.

U’Knique Gaines was held to just two points for the Lady Cardinals. She scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the semifinals games against Booker T. Washington Friday night. East Central shot 3-of-20 in the first half.

Both teams took a similar road to the state championship game. In the previous two games in the state playoffs, the Lady Cardinals scored 88 total points while allowing just 67. The Lady Irish held opponents to 66 total points and scored 82.

The Lady Cardinals were trying to their third state title since 2006. East Central won back-to-back championships in 2006-07.

The loss was just the second of the season for the top-ranked Lady Cardinals.