By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Carl Albert’s girls knew they’d have their hands full Saturday afternoon against rival Del City.
And they were right.
Del City kept pace from the opening tip with pressure defense and rebounding. The Lady Titans finally found separation in the fourth quarter with outside shooting and defensive adjustments.
Essence Curry and Ariana Diaz hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to give the Lady Titans an eight-point lead. Carl Albert put the game away with six free throws in the final minutes for the 58-46 win in the Class 5A regional final.
“Del City hammered us last week. They took it to us, and they outplayed us and I did not think we played our best, but I think we did today,” said coach Kyle Richey. “We came together, we made some adjustments, the girls played their hearts out and now we’re one win away from punching our ticket to the state tournament.”
Carl Albert will face Glenpool in the area finals at 6 p.m. Thursday at Edmond North. Del City will also head to North where they’ll face Lawton MacArthur in an area consolation game at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Del City led early in the game as Shelby Thornton dominated in the paint. She scored eight points in the first quarter and grabbed several rebounds for an 11-10 lead after one.
The game stayed tight in the second quarter with physical defense on both ends. Curry hit a 3-pointer at the end of the second to give Carl Albert a 23-20 lead at halftime.
The Lady Titans took the lead for good on a layup at the end of the third, which made it a 39-38 score.
“We started out strong but had some turnovers late that really hurt us,” said Del City coach Mariah Webb. “We have good speed but need to be smart. It’s a learning experience.”
Diaz led all scorers with 19 points and freshman Skylar Anderson had seven points.
Del City’s CourtnieMcCarroll scored 18 points and Thornton finished with 16 points.