Prague girls eliminate rival Chandler
HENNESSEY — A banner second-half performance lifted Prague’s girls to a 55-36 triumph over Chandler Thursday afternoon in a Class 3A area tournament elimination game.
A 4-all tie after one quarter and a 17-17 halftime stalemate were more indicative of the three previous matchups this season. Prague prevailed in the first game while Chandler took the next two contests, the last one going to overtime.
But Thursday’s second half was all Prague. The Lady Red Devils outscored Chandler 20-7 in the third quarter as junior Payton Camren sank three 3-point field goals.
Prague also enjoyed an 18-12 advantage in the fourth quarter.
Camren totaled 14 points, second only to teammate Tori Lester with 21. Mattie Rich aided the cause with eight points and Alauna Parker finished with six.
“Tori dominated inside,” said Prague assistant coach Susan Bloomer. “It was one of her best games of the year.”
Lester canned 9-of-12 free throws (75%) as Prague was 16 of 20 (80%).
Chandler struggled at the line, hitting 6 of 15 (40%).
Jaelynn Robertson and Piper Hixson of Chandler fouled out. The Lady Lions’ top scorer, senior Hannah Vandenbrand with 11, was assessed four fouls.
“We changed our defense to a 2-3 zone matchup and they didn’t score inside like they usually do,” said Bloomer. “Our offense struggled in the first half but played well in the second half. Our defense played well.”
For Chandler, which finished the season at 12-10, Hixson posted nine points on three 3-pointers.
Leah Brannon of Chandler played in her first game since before the Christmas break because of a high ankle sprain. She netted seven points.
“Prague came out in the third quarter, hit some big-time shots and we just never recovered,” said Chandler coach Rodney Treat. “We have a lot of experience coming back next year and Leah will be back from the injury. We should be successful.”
Prague (11-12) entered Friday’s game against Thursday’s Metro Christian-Perry winner needing two more wins to advance to the state tournament.