Carl Albert girls reach state semifinals
By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
NORMAN – A trip to the Class 5A state tournament came with triumph and heartbreak for the Carl Albert girls.
The Lady Titans earned their first win at the state tournament since 2014, but then saw their hopes for a title end with a semifinal loss.
Carl Albert opened the tournament with a win over Tulsa Rogers on Wednesday and fell to Holland Hall 56-41 in the semifinals on Friday at the Lloyd Noble Center.
Coach Kyle Richey expressed pride in his team’s performance, especially three seniors Ariana Diaz, Kennedy Cofer and Kamryn Sutton. The trio have helped the Lady Titans qualify for state the past three years.
“I’m not going to look at the negatives. This team did something not done since 2014 by winning a state game,” Richey said. “Our seniors led us to three straight state tournament games and I’m going to miss them. Our youngsters learned a lot from them and will hopefully keep this going.”
The Lady Titans couldn’t find their shooting stroke from the outside and struggled rebounding against the larger Holland Hall squad.
“That’s the type of game we expected. We made some shots early but had to play catchup the whole game and we just couldn’t catch them,” Richey said.
Sutton and Cofer hit back-to-back 3-pointers to open the game, but the lead didn’t last long. The Dutch finished the first quarter on a 16-2 run and led 18-8 at the end of the first.
Carl Albert finished strong in the second to keep it a 10-point game at 27-17.
The Lady Titans rallied again early in the fourth quarter to pull with 10. Cofer scored off an offensive rebound to make it a 44-34 score.
But that’s all the closer the score would get.
Holland Hall hit 10 free throws in the fourth to close out the 56-41 victory.
Ariana Diaz scored 13 points to lead the Lady Titans. Cofer had eight points including two 3s and Sutton and Ausha Moore scored six apiece.
Ellise Hill led the Dutch with 25 points and five assists. Sophia Regalado finished with 17 points and seven rebounds.
Carl Albert 61, Tulsa Rogers 46
Carl Albert’s girls avenged a loss to Tulsa Rogers last year in the state tournament by beating the Ropers 61-46 Wednesday in the 5A quarterfinals at the Lloyd Noble Center.
“That was definitely a motivation for us,” Sutton said about last year’s loss to Rogers. “We just said ‘We’re not going to lose to this team again and it can’t happen two years in a row.’”
The Lady Titans balanced offensive attack was too much for Rogers to handle. They had four players finish in double figures led by Diaz and Sutton with 14 points apiece. Cofer added 13 and Audrey Plunkett scored 11 in the win.
Carl Albert hit 8-of-21 from 3-point range. Sutton made four 3s and Cofer had three in the game.
“That [3-point shooting] definitely got us going for sure,” Sutton said. “I feel like us hitting shots together just changes the whole game for us. Last year, we were 3-for-31 against Rogers.”
In the first half, Carl Albert built a lead largely at the foul line. The Lady Titans were 12-of-15 on free throws for a 30-22 lead at the break.
Rogers cut the deficit in the third quarter and got within three. Carl Albert responded by pushing it to double digits. Plunkett scored a layup and two free throws to give them a 46-36 lead at the end of three.
“We thought if we could spread out make them chase us,” Richey said.
Carl Albert continued to add to their lead in the fourth for the 61-46 victory.