By Dave Ruthenberg, Sports Editor
Enid News and Eagle
MOORE, Okla. —
Payton Van Meter went end-to-end and scored on a layup with 25 seconds left as Fairview pulled off a big second-half comeback to defeat Thomas 44-43 in the quarterfinals of the Class 2A girls state tournament Friday at Westmoore High School.
Van Meter’s eventual game-winner came just seconds after Savana Marsh scored her only points of the night on a three-pointer that put Thomas on top 43-42.
“They (Thomas) had just taken that one-point lead there, but she (Van Meter) kept her composure and she saw she had a three-on-two and made an unbelievable play,” said Fairview coach Mike Barton.
Thomas’ loss overshadowed a standout performance by the Lady Terriers’ Keela Hamar who scored a game-high 20 points, including six three-pointers, but was held to only five second-half points.
“We ran some zone traps in the first half and kept losing her (Hamar),” Barton said. “We switched to man in the second half.”
The win sends the defending champion Lady Jackets (25-4) into today’s noon semifinal game at State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City against top-seed Northeast Academy (27-0) in a rematch from last year’s 2A final. Northeast defeated Preston 53-34 in its quarterfinal game Friday at Westmoore.
The Lady Jackets overcame an 11-point third quarter deficit that followed a 7-0 run by Thomas, which took a 33-22 lead. But Olivia Mason would score five straight points, three free throws and a bucket, to pull Fairview back to within six at 33-27. However, the biggest bucket of the quarter came from freshman Karley Boyer, who put back a rebound at the buzzer to close Fairview’s gap to 35-31.
“Boy that was a huge shot,” Barton said.
The Lady Jackets tied the game at 35-35 before Hamar hit the sixth of her three-pointers to put Thomas back up 38-35. Fairview took only its second lead of the game when Emily Martens hit two free throws to put Fairview up 41-40 with two minutes remaining. Martens converted on one out of two free throws on Fairview’s next possession before Marsh’s three-pointer and Van Meter’s game-winning layup.
Thomas had one final opportunity after a pair of missed Fairview free throws, but Mason intercepted a Thomas pass with two seconds remaining from Hamar, who surprisingly passed up a possible game-winning shot.
The win completed a comeback that saw Fairview trail for nearly the entire contest after Thomas jumped out to a 9-0 lead to start the game, before Fairview battled back to take its first lead of the game at 15-14 on a Sadie Mason bucket midway through the second period. The Lady Jackets would not lead again until two minutes were left in the game.
Hamar was perfect from the three-point line on five attempts in the first half as Thomas led 24-17 at the half. But she was limited to five second-half points as Fairview pulled off the comeback.
“Nothing these girls do surprises me,” Barton said. They are definitely battle-tested. They just fought back and fought back.”
Baylor Reese had a big game for Fairview as the sophomore had a team-high 13 points. Olivia Mason was next with 8. Van Meter had 7.
It was the second year in a row Fairview eliminated Thomas from the state tournament. The Terriers (23-4) started and ended the season with losses to Fairview.
ALVA 53, COLBERT 45
Alva defeated Colbert 53-45 Friday in the late 2A quarterfinal game.
The Ladybugs held an 18-17 lead at halftime, but broke open a close game with a 19-12 third quarter and coasted to victory over the No. 7 Lady Leopards (25-5). No. 4 Alva (24-4) advances to face second-ranked Dale (28-1) at 6 p.m. today at State Fair Arena.
in Oklahoma City in the semifinals. Dale advanced with a 34-32 victory Friday over fifth-ranked Tonkawa (24-4) in the quarterfinals.