PRAGUE – Freshman phenom Chantae Embry went into beast mode, as coach Bennie Burnett calls it, to will the No. 6 in Class 3A Lady Red Devils to a 62-59 win over 5A No. 5 Woodward in overtime in the Prague Czech Classic championship game Saturday.
“She's a special young lady,” Burnett said.
Embry put up 30 points in the title game, including six of the eight overtime points and had 17 in the second half of play.
Woodward's Brennley Cloyd hit a bucket to make it a 27-21 game to start the second half, but the Lady Devils' kicked on an offensive attack with a putback by Caya Wright and capped the 8-0 run on a jumper by Morgan Cooper to go ahead 29-27 with five minutes left in the third.
The teams exchanged leads until Woodward rallied with seven unanswered points to lead 53-48 with 1:06 left in regulation. Embry and Cooper each put in buckets to get within one. Prague made a couple of steals but turned both over, forcing them to hack at the Boomers.
Madison Mosely hit the back end of her free-throws to take a 54-52 lead for Woodward, but a layup with 13 seconds left by Cooper tied it up. Woodward didn't attempt a shot, instead taking the chance of trying to win in overtime.
Fighting back to take the high-ranked 5A team into extra minutes gave Burnett exactly what he was looking for from his girls.
“It was a great win against a very quality, well-coached program. One of the top teams in Class 5A. We knew it was going to be a battle,” he said.
Embry posted up for the first bucket of overtime, hit the backend of two free-throw opportunites and was fouled on a layup to earn the and-one. Macyn Anderson missed the frontend of a one-and-one situation up 60-59 but Woodward was unable to capitalize and Adisyn Auld went to the line, sinking both to seal the game with one second left to play.
The girls could have given up after the first half stopped going their way, Burnett said, but used their fight and determination to come out the winners.
“This group's got grit,” Burnett said. “They could have quit a lot of times during the game and they don't quit, they just keep battling.”
Embry and Cooper keyed in for a 6-2 run to start the game, but Woodward quickly caught up, took the advantage at the end of the first and held onto it to lead 25-21 at the half.
Embry led all scorers and Cooper finished with 15 points. Anderson had nine with two 3-pointers and Kayla Smith also hit a triple.
Cloyd led Woodward with 24 points and had two treys but was shut out in overtime. Kaylee Hurst had 16 and McKenzie Young drained two long shots to finish with six.
The win keeps 6-0 Prague undefeated on the season and hands Woodward their first loss. The Lady Devils will return from the Christmas break Jan. 2, at McLoud.
Taylor Hodges is expected to return from an injury after the break and should provide a nice boost of speed for the team, Burnett said.
“She hasn't gotten to play with us yet but she will add some much needed quickness and I hope we just get better and better,” he said.