North Rock Creek girls pull away with big fourth quarter

Brian Johnson
Shawnee News-Star, USA TODAY NETWORK
North Rock Creek's Jayden Haney (5) dribbles the basketball while being guarded by Eufaula Thursday afternoon in Class 3A regional action at Prague.

PRAGUE – Kate Masquas, Lydia VanAntwerp and Jayden Haney each reached double figures as the North Rock Creek Lady Cougars went on a 21-5 fourth-quarter scoring blitz to down the Eufaula Lady Ironheads 55-42 Thursday in Class 3A regional consolation bracket play at Prague High School.

The North Rock Creek boys saw their season come to an end with a 66-53 loss to Lincoln Christian later in the day.

North Rock Creek 55, Eufaula 42 (Girls)

Masquas tossed in 15 points, VanAntwerp tallied 13 and Haney chipped in 11 after a sluggish third quarter found North Rock Creek trailing 37-34 after holding a 27-20 halftime advantage.

It was the Lady Cougars' first regional victory in school history as they improved to 10-8 on the season.

A key component was the Lady Cougars' ability to turn around their free-throw fortunes. NRC was only 9 of 20 from the foul line in the first half but warmed up in the second, converting 16 of 23 tries, including a critical 12 of 16 in the final 3:54.

“That was a difference maker,” said Lady Cougar head coach Charity Kilinc. “I'm proud of the way they all played. We're a young team but we finished like we had seniors out there.”

Masquas knocked down two 3-point field goals for her only field goals, but was 9 of 12 from the charity stripe. She also hustled for six rebounds and had a steal. VanAntwerp was 3 of 4 from the field and canned 7 of 10 free shots. Haney nailed one trey and snatched four boards.

“Lydia is an all-around hustle player whether we are up by 20 or down by 20. She has a hustle mentality,” Kilinc said.

Also providing a lift off the bench was Haley Hacker with eight rebounds to go with her three points.

“We call her our 'trash player' in a good sense. She's a player that does all the little things the right way – talking, getting rebounds and blocking out.”

Olivia McRay added nine points and five boards to the Lady Cougar attack and Olivia Stacy chipped in the other four points and pulled down six rebounds in a reserve role.

Allie Anderson was the high scorer for Eufaula with 15 before fouling out late. Mykah Osborne ended up with 10 points, including a 5 of 6 effort from the foul line.

The Lady Ironheads were 15 of 20 from the line for the game.

North Rock Creek held a 40-31 advantage on the boards.

The Lady Cougars were down by a 42-36 count with six minutes remaining in the contest. However, North Rock Creek closed the game with a 19-0 run. The first seven points came off three field goals – a basket each from Stacy and Haney, followed by a 3-point jumper from Masquas from beyond the top of the key.

From there, the Lady Cougar scoring came from the free-throw line with the 12-of-16 effort. VanAntwerp was 5 of 6 down the stretch and Masquas was 3 of 4.

Lincoln Christian 66, North Rock Creek 53 (boys)

Lincoln Christian sank seven 3-point shots and Noah Reimer made sure his team stayed in control down the stretch in eliminating the Cougars from the playoffs.

Reimer scored 13 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter to keep North Rock Creek at bay and Logan Isbell led the way for the winners with 20.

The Cougars, who saw their season come to an end at 14-5, struggled with their shooting, hitting at only a 37.3% pace for the day.

Meanwhile, Lincoln Christian hit at a 51% pace, including 7 of 12 in the fourth quarter.

Diego Garcia led North Rock Creek with 13 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double. He was 5 of 9 from the floor.

Noah McMullan and Jordan Coody contributed 11 points each. McMullan sank three 3-point shots and a pair of free throws. Coody tried to help the Cougars get back into the game late as he was 4 of 6 from the field in the final quarter.