PRAGUE—Survive and advance. That is exactly what the Prague Lady Red Devils did on Monday night as they edged out the Mt. St. Mary's Lady Rockets, 56-55, in the championship game of the Class 3A Region-4 tournament.
“The girls just never gave up,” said Prague head coach Benny Burnett. “We were down but we kept telling the girls we were OK.”
Ok they were. Especially at the free-throw line. The Lady Red Devils hit 12-of-14 free throws in the fourth quarter, including three of them from Adisyn Auld in the final :22 of play. Auld hit one of two freebies with :22 left to give Prague a 54-53 lead.
Mt. St. Mary's responded with two freebies as Mattie Rischard hit two with :14 remaining. That set up a chance for a game-winner from Prague and with :7.6 on the clock, Auld was fouled while jumping for a pass and landed hard on her back and elbows. Grimacing in pain, Coach Burnett called a timeout to give Auld a chance to recover.
Auld recovered and hit nothing but net on her two free throws to send Prague into this week's area tournament, unblemished in playoff action.
“She (Auld) handles pressure extremely well,” said Burnett. “She did the same thing for us against Woodward earlier in the season.”
The game was tight and tense throughout most of the contest. The two squads exchanged leads nine times and were tied three times during the game.
The Lady Red Devils relied heavily on freshman Chantae Embry. Embry was too much for the Lady Rockets as she racked up 14 first-half points and finished with a game-high 27 points.
“They could not stop her,” said Burnett. “They had no answer for her inside.”
Embry was the lone Lady Red Devil in double figures. Morgan Cooper added seven and Auld finished with six.
Mt. Saint Mary's was led by Rischard who netted 15. Kennedy Allison scored 14 while Haily Talbort hit for 13.
Prague will now face Hartsthorne at 6:30 pm, Friday night in Checotah. The winner will advance into the Class 3A State Tournament.