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Defending state champs hold off Carl Albert girls

Carl Albert’s Essence Curry shoots a floater during the Class 5A state quarterfinal game Thursday afternoon. Photo by Jay Wiggins for the Midwest City beacon

By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon

NOBLE – The Carl Albert girls had a tough assignment in the Class 5A state tournament as they drew defending state champion Sapulpa in the first round.

The Lady Titans took the lead in the third quarter but couldn’t close out the game. Sapulpa standout Tyla Heard scored 17 of her 26 points in the second half to lead the Lady Chieftains to a 63-47 win at the Lloyd Noble Center.

Jakary Brown and Ausha Moore gave Carl Albert the lead late in the third quarter. Heard answered with a conventional three-point play and a basket, giving Sapulpa a 43-39 lead at the end of the third.

Sapulpa outscored Carl Albert 20-8 in the fourth quarter for the win.

The Lady Chieftains scored the first six points of the game and led 17-8 at the end of the first.

In the second, Shelby Rusche hit a 3-pointer and Audrey Plunkett added three free throws to make it a 27-21 halftime score.

Carl Albert surged ahead in the third quarter. Plunkett hit a 3-pointer and Essence Curry scored a layup for a 33-29 lead at the 5:10 mark. Sapulpa regained the lead before the quarter was over.

Heard scored the team’s final nine points of the period, making it a 43-39 score.

Heard kept it up in the fourth quarter helping Sapulpa pull away for the 63-47 win.

Plunkett led the Lady Titans with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Curry and Ausha Moore were also in double figures scoring with 11 and 10 points respectively.

Sapulpa’s Taylor Bilby scored 20 points and was 5 of 10 from 3-point range.

Carl Albert struggled shooting and hit just 36.2% from the field (17 of 47).

Sapulpa hit 20 of 33 free throws. Carl Albert was 10 of 16 at the line.

The Lady Chieftains went on to beat Booker T. Washington in the semifinals before falling to El Reno in the 5A state finals.

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