OKLAHOMA CITY — — Staff reports
OKLAHOMA CITY — Playing like a champion determined to not surrender its title, and behind 28 points from Ashley LaGasse, the No. 2 Lomega Lady Raiders punched their ticket to today’s Class B girls state tournament final with a 60-52 semifinals win over top-ranked Hammon Friday at State Fair Arena.
The defending champion Lady Raiders, who defeated Hammon 49-44 in last year’s championship game, will be going for their Oklahoma-record 12th gold ball when they face Erick at noon. KXLS (95.7 FM) will carry the game.
Lomega broke open a tight game that was tied 40-40 entering the fourth period.
The Lady Raiders (24-6) started the final frame on a 7-2 run, capped by Taylor Mendell’s three-pointer. Lomega’s lead was whittled down to three at 48-45 before Mendell scored on a runner, and then converted an and-one opportunity that put Lomega up 52-45 as the Lady Raiders showed a champion’s form down the stretch, while Hammon (26-5) turned the ball over several times.
Lomega eventually built an 11-point lead at 56-45 as it put the game away with LaGasse converting on several free throws as the Lady Warriors was forced to foul.
The game shaped up through three quarters as a scoring duel between LaGasse and Hammon’s Kori Barrios as each player seemed to match the other, scoring sometimes seemingly at will.
But Barrios lost her scoring touch in the final frame as Hammon lost its composure, scoring only five points in the final quarter, while LaGasse continued to put on a show, scoring 17 points in the second half.
Coming out of halftime, Hammon appeared to be gaining control of the contest, opening up a six-point lead at 30-24 lead after an Erin Burch jumper. But the Lady Raiders responded with a pair of threes from Kylie Turner and LaGasse that pulled them to within two at 32-30 before Burch hit a three to put Hammon up 35-32.
After another Hammon bucket gave the Lady Warriors’ a five-point lead, Turner responded with another three to make 37-35. After a Hammon free throw made it 38-35, LaGasse scored and was fouled converting the and-one to tie the game at 38-38 and the teams traded baskets to make it 40-40 heading into the final period where Lomega put the game away.
Joining LaGasse in double figures for Lomega was Mendell who had 10 points. Barrios was one of three Lady Warriors in double figures, joined by Petyon Walker with 12 points and Erin Burch with 11.
Hammon committed 17 turnovers on the night, while Lomega only turned it over 12 times. Both teams shot 36 percent from the field.
No. 8 Erick (24-8), defeated Shattuck 51-44 in overtime to earn its spot in the title game.
Erick also defeated Timberlake 41-40 in the quarterfinals.