Maybe it was the frigid temperatures outside, maybe it was a corporate case of nerves, but things didn’t start out well for the Kansas ladies in the Regional Championship Finals versus Sequoyah-Tahlequah at Muskogee’s Civic Center on Saturday night. But following their worst start of the season, the Lady Comets hung together to eventually obliterate the Lady Indians in a most impressive fashion.
In the opening stanza, Kansas turned the ball over five times while connecting on just two of their first seven shots from the floor. Kortni Kendrick led the Lady Comet scoring with her first seven of her game high 21.
Despite being beaten on the boards by an 8-3 margin, Sequoyah began the evening with a long-range assault. Lady Indian Taylor Johnson threw in five three pointers that helped to launch her team to a 14-0 opening run. And by the time the dust had settled on the opening eight minutes Sequoyah was ahead 23-13.
With the onset of the second stanza the tables would turn. With their defense now adjusted sufficiently to guard the dangerous Johnson, the Lady Comets started on a warpath of their own. Junior Brooke Panther took control of the middle while the remainder of the Kansas teams patrolled the perimeter. Turning the ball over only once in the quarter, the Lady Comets dominated the boards by an 8-4 margin and held their opponents scoreless until the 2:27 mark.
While the Lady Indians weren’t scoring, the Kansas girls were. Panther put in four buckets and a free throw to go with three rebounds in route to her game’s double-double. With momentum clearly on their side, the Lady Comets combined for 20 and frustrated the Lady Indians to only a seven point frame and
33-30 halftime lead.
Although Kansas committed half dozen turnovers in the third they were, more times than not, errors of hustle rather than errors of neglect. After allowing Nikki Lewis to score a three pointer to tie the game at 33, the Lady Comets went on roll and in reality they never really looked back.
Panther poured in 10 points to go with five more by Kendrick to lead Kansas to a 13 to three run in the opening five minutes of the half.
Again controlling the boards to the tune of a 9-2 margin, the Lady Comets held Sequoyah to another seven point quarter and a 50-37 lead with a quarter to play.
The Lady Indians were eventually able to go on a small run of their own that saw them pull within eight. But just as quick as there seemed to be some kind of hope for Sequoyah, the Kansas girls shot them down. The Lady Indians had to settle for their third consecutive seven point quarter while Kendrick scored four more to lead the Comets to the big time 14 point win and handing Sequoyah their 10th loss of the season.
With their convincing 60-44 victory, the Lady Comets will take on Chelsea, Friday at 6:30 in the Area Tournament, again in Muskogee.
For a couple of minutes, the Lady Wolves of Heavener found themselves with a 3-0 lead over the state’s #3 rated Kansas Lady Comets, in the first round winner‘s bracket regional at J.O. Jones Field House, Thursday night. And in the wake of the vociferous antics of the visiting contingent, the hometown Comets took little more than half of quarter to slam the door shut on their guests.
With the hopeful Heavener partisans still on their collective feet, the Kansas defense commenced their signature brutalizing of the Wolves to take firm control of the game.
Forcing the first nine of Heavener’s 20 plus turnovers on the night on defense, the Comet offense was anchored by Kortni Kendrick’s pair of buckets and five of six free throws.
Five other Kansas ladies added to Kendrick’s opening nine points to score 21.
The overmatched visitors were only able to scrape together another 3-pointer to score six.
The second frame was another verse of the same song. With Kelsey Barnwell knocking down seven of her game high 17 points, in conjunction with six from Brooke Panther and a Courtney Cowan deuce, Heavener was forced to call a timeout midway through the period. And by that time the Lady Comets had doubled up their opposition and shut up their fans.
Trailing 38-17, the Lady Wolves got five points from Heather Gibson and four from Shaylee Manley in route to 14 points and their best offensive quarter of the night. But unfortunately for the visitors, Kansas put together their best quarter as well. Totally dominating the boards, by a 10-1 margin in the third, the Lady Comets posted 24 more tallies of their own. Courtney Baker stroked a pair of 3-pointers to go with six more points from Barnwell and five by Brooke Panther, again doubling up Heavener 63-31 with eight minutes to play.
The Lady Wolves were only able to connect on single floor shot in the final frame, with the remainder of their quarter’s 11 points coming from the foul line.
Kansas’s Brittany Lamont scored seven of her team’s fourth-stanza dozen seeing to it that the Lady Comets would outscore their opponents in every quarter of the game.
With the big 74-42 victory, the Kansas girls advanced to Saturday’s Regional championship game versus the Lady Indians of Tahlequah-Sequoyah.