Phoenix staff reports
FORT GIBSON — Overcoming a little intimidation early, Eufaula settled in to place.
That place now is the school’s first trip to an area final since 2008 thanks to a 66-59 win over perennial power Kansas in the Class 3A Area III consolation semifinals Friday at Fort Gibson’s Harrison Field House.
Kansas, the 2010 state champion, scored the first seven points in the game’s opening two minutes.
“We were a little shellshocked,” Eufaula coach Jordan Garner said. “They may not be the teams of the past but they still have that ‘Kansas’ across their chest. But once we settled down, we turned it around.”
Newakis Banks’ 3 broke the ice for Eufaula on a 10-0 run that gave them the lead for good. It was 20-13 at quarter’s end and the Lady Ironheads later nudged a 13-point halftime led to 50-36 at the end of three quarters. They then withstood a Lady Comets’ rally in the fourth along with Sierra Honeycutt’s 29-point effort.
“It was a little intimidating at first,” Banks said. “The girl I was matched against was 5-(foot)-10 and I’m 5-3. We’re down 7-0 in a timeout and we’re like we’ve got to regroup or this is our last game here. I wanted to do something and the 3 kind of got us relaxed because we couldn’t hit anything to start.”
A win against Verdigris at 6:30 tonight puts the Lady Ironheads (20-7) in their first state tournament since 1993. Verdigris lost to Adair 37-35.
Alyssa Banks scored 20 points to lead Eufaula, followed by Janet Hill with 14 points and Newakis Banks 10.
Boys: Adair 47, Keys 46
Brady Bradberry hit a game-tying 3-pointer in the final minute then sank a pair of free throws with 9 seconds to play, ending the Cougars’ bid of a repeat trip to the 3A state tournament.
Keys (14-13) had a final chance with :02 left, but Peyton Ragsdale fumbled the ball near the basket before letting loose a shot near the 3-point circle that was off the mark.
Ragsdale and Cody Cole each led Keys with 12 points. Trevor Eubanks had 11.
Adair (20-9) plays tonight in the consolation final.
“We were coming through the loser’s bracket and I thought with a seven-point lead early in the fourth, we were in pretty good shape to keep it going another day,” said Keys coach Duane Jones. “They hit some big shots, we turned the ball over and missed free throws.”