ADA - The Dale Lady Pirates advanced to the finals of the 2016 Bertha Frank Teague Mid-America Classic with a 50-43 win over the Seiling Lady Cats Thursday.
Dale jumped out to a 10-2 lead thanks to Hannah Ash scoring the Lady Pirates' first eight points.
On the defensive side of the ball, Dale came out with a 3-2 zone to try and stifle Seiling's outside shooting. Coach Josh Forsythe was pleased with how his team responded to the new defensive strategy.
“I couldn't be more proud of the girls,” Forsythe said. “They were very coachable tonight. They listened in the walkthrough and we did a really good job of executing. I'm really proud of the mental toughness that we showed today.”
With a 21-16 lead going into halftime, the Lady Pirates went on a 14-5 run to start the third quarter, started by an Ash field goal and capped off by to Dani Manning free throws, to give Dale a 29-26 lead going into the final frame.
Seiling would outscore Dale 17-11 in the fourth quarter but the Lady Pirates again made clutch free throws late in the game to hold off the surging Lady Cats.
“Seiling does a really good job of pressuring the ball,” Forsythe said. “There were times that we needed to be more active away from the ball but there were some possessions where we penetrated and got some good looks.”
In the win, the Lady Pirates made 18 of 19 free throws, which was an improvement over the previous game where they made 16 of 26. Forsythe said his team worked on that aspect of their game in shootaround leading up to the game.
“Generally we are really good from the free throw line,” Forsythe said. “Yesterday was kind of an anomaly.”
Ash led all scorers with 26 points. Manning chipped in 11 points and eight assists. Taylor Thompson joined them in double figures with 10 points. Claire Chastain battled through an ankle injury to block five shots and grab four rebounds.
Seiling's Macy Gore had 15 points. Karly Gore contributed 10 points and eight rebounds.
Dale (12-0) will face the winner of Newcastle and Ada in the championship game Friday. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. at the Kerr Center in Ada.