CNHI News Service
Coach Paul Bass knew three straight titles would be a tough chore. No girls teams in the state’s largest class had accomplished the feat since Byng in the late 1930s.
But No. 1 Edmond Santa Fe seemed destined to make it happen this year when it came into the state tournament with one loss and riding a 22-game win streak.
However, the Wolves met up with a Tulsa Washington team Friday that was determined to end the streak. The Hornets upset Santa Fe 72-70 in the 6A state semifinals at the Mabee Center in Tulsa.
“It’s a loss we don’t see a whole lot. Trying to win three in a row is probably the hardest thing there is. Everybody tells you how good you are and all that stuff. But we faced a Tulsa Washington team that is hot. This team is on a mission and I’ve been there in their shoes. Best team won today.”
Trailing 67-61, Santa Fe’s Mariah Williams knocked down a pair of free throws to close the gap to five. The Wolves then forced BTW into a turnover which led to a Cameerah Graves layup.
After the Hornets’ Mikayla Alexander hit a pair of free throws, Santa Fe’s Jobi Heath tried to answer, but her shot came in and out of the rim. Teammate Tamara Lee grabbed the rebound and was fouled. She hit both free shots and the Wolves were down 69-67 with 33 seconds left on the clock.
BTW’s Kendria Washington missed 1 of 2 free throws, giving life to the Wolves. Down 70-67, Heath dribbled up court and went in for layup, but the ball bounced off her leg and out of bounds.
BTW put the game away with a pair of free throws.
MaKenzie Ellis paced the Hornets with 16 and Tori Cook added 13.
One day after scoring 29, Lee had a game-high 24 points against the Hornets. Graves scored 16.
“It was their speed and quickness,” Bass said of the Hornets. “Anytime you face athletic teams, they are going to get after you. You have to be able to attack them and sometimes it didn’t work. We turned the ball over way too much. That’s how they got their runs.”
While the Wolves are known for their strong backcourt, it was Tulsa Washington’s guards who came out of the blocks running and attacking. The Hornets bolted to a 6-3 before ESF fans had time to sit down.
However, Santa Fe calmed down and responded with a 13-2 run spearheaded by Lee. The teams headed into the second period tied at 22-22.
The Hornets went to Ellis in the middle to take control of the game. The sophomore scored 11 first-half points. Despite that, the Wolves led 32-28 at halftime.
“It’s a great season,” Bass said. “But for us, we always want to be in the finals ever year. We will get back there. These young girls are hungry.”