In dominating fashion, the Dale Lady Pirates advanced to the Class 2A state tournament finals with a 57-50 win over the Tushka Lady Tigers Friday night.
YUKON – In dominating fashion, the Dale Lady Pirates advanced to the Class 2A state tournament finals with a 57-50 win over the Tushka Lady Tigers Friday night.
“I'm very proud of our effort tonight,” Dale coach Josh Forsythe said. “I thought we got off to a really good start. This was our third time in the semifinals. We finally got over the hump but we aren't done yet. We want to stay focused for tomorrow.”
Dale's Taylor Thompson opened the game with a triple from the corner and the Lady Pirates never looked back. The Lady Pirates' defense was smothering, only allowing four first-quarter points even though Hannah Ash and Dani Manning were in early foul trouble.
“I thought defensively our spacing and our length was really good,” Forsythe said. “We got in a little bit of foul trouble when Hannah had to sit for a bunch of time in the first half. Dani had to sit for a quite a bit of time in the second half. People stepped up.”
Despite Tushka's Jaylee Eaves going off for 37 points, Forsythe was pleased with the Lady Pirates' effort on defense.
“I thought Rylee Thompson stepped up and played a heck of a game,” Forsythe said. “I know she fouled out but she played exceptional defense. I thought they all did a good job defensively.”
The momentum continued for Dale in the second quarter as they went on a 13-2 run to open quarter. With the bench getting more minutes than previous games, the Lady Pirates were able to rely on the bench to carry the load.
“We talked a lot about staying focused on what we're talking about in the huddles, at halftime and before the game,” Forsythe said. “I thought Lindy [Nowakowski], Lacey [Savage] and Rylee came in and took care of the ball and played good defense.”
Dale took a 30-13 lead into the locker room at half, but Eaves was not about to let her team give up. Eaves scored 11 straight to start the third quarter. Ash and Manning went for seven and six in the quarter to help the Lady Pirates extend their lead to 45-28.
Tushka was able to close the lead to single digits, but Manning was able to go four of four from the free-throw line to close out the contest.
Claire Chastain led Dale with 15 points. Manning added 14 and Ash chipped in 13.
Dale will play the winner of Cashion and Christian Heritage for the 2A state championship Saturday at 5:45 p.m. at Oklahoma City's State Fair Arena.
Dale will be seeking its eighth state title in its 30th appearance.