EDMOND – A lot of Prague's 61-52 loss to Kingston Thursday in the 3A state quarterfinals at Edmond Santa Fe hinged on one call early in the fourth quarter. With 6:10 left in the game, the Lady Devils' Chantae Embry got called for her fifth foul on an offensive charge to Kingston's Danna Wagnon to leave Prague without their best scorer as the final minutes ticked down.
Coach Benny Burnett has tought his girls from the beginning of the year that they need to learn to play with four fouls and what to do when someone fouls out. He was happy with the results that he got though.
“I felt like all of our girls stepped up tonight,” he said. “We played a great game and, you know, of course when we got Chantae in foul trouble that hurt... when you get to the state tournament you've got to put your best people on the floor. And that's what we did and I teach them all the time to learn to play with four fouls.”
The Lady Devils led 44-41 before Kingston took control with five unanswered to take a 46-44 lead. Adisyn Auld made a bucket and the teams traded leads as she hit a shot with 2:53 left to give Prague their last lead of the game, 49-48. The Lady Redskins were 11-13 from the line down the stretch to seal things up.
One thing that made the difference for Kingfisher throughout the game was their performance off the boards to earn second chance opportunities.
“they did a great job getting offensive rebounds, give them credit, we've got to do a better job of blocking out and we were quite a bit smaller than they were, and I think that made the difference inside,” Burnett said.
The Lady Devils trailed 8-3 in the first but rallied with eight straight capped on a bucket from Chloe McClendon to take an 11-8 lead with 3:15 in the quarter. The teams traded blows the rest of the way and Kingston went to the half with a 33-31 lead on a 3-pointer from Emi Osteen.
Macyn Anderson hit a trey for the first bucket of the second half with 6:29 left in the third and the teams tied up at 40 going to the fourth.
Embry and McClendon had 11 points apiece and Morgan Cooper finished with 10. Anderson finished with nine, Caya Wright had seven and Auld and Kayla Smith put in two.
Kingston's Kes Reeves led all scorers with 23 points, Kassie Bailey had 16 and Avri Weeks finished with 11.
Burnett was happy with Prague's season performance to finish 24-4 on the season and knew that if one or two things had gone a little differently they could have earned the win.
“Great season, tremendous sesaon, to go 24-4 and make it to the state tournament,” he said. “Really a few calls here and there, we could be playing again tomorrow night.”
The Lady Devils graduate four seniors in Anderson, Cooper, Smith and Ashlyn Coleman. Burnett is confident that his girls will make a return trip next year.
“We've got a great group of sophomores coming back, a few juniors got lots of playing time,” he said. “We're going to be tough next year. We're going to be ready and I told the underclassmen that I don't want them to forget how this feeling feels and let's not let it happen next year.”
The Lady Devils finish the season with a record of 24-4.