David Reeder

OKLAHOMA CITY-After falling behind and staying behind for most of Friday’s semifinal game at State Fair Arena, against defending state champion, OKC Millwood, the Kansas Lady Comets staged a furious 4th quarter comeback, only to fall victim to a phantom foul call that probably shouldn’t and most times wouldn’t get called with 1.5 seconds to play.

       With some pretty good defense, Kansas was able to hold the always dangerous Millwood middle off the scoreboard.  But the Lady Falcons went to the outside where senior Shae Bowden led a Falcon scoring barrage with 3 of her team’s 5 first quarter treys.  While turning the ball over 4 times the Lady Comets shot 4 of 12 from the field and 3 of 4 from the foul line.  Anchored by 4 each from Brooke Panther and Kelsey Barnwell, Kansas managed to put up 11 points to trail by 5 to start the 2nd. In the subsequent stanza Millwood put in 2 of 5 tries from both inside and outside the arc, scoring 11.  And while the Kansas ladies only turned the ball over one time, they didn’t bring in a rebound until the 2:55 mark of the period.  But with 4 more each from Barnwell and Panther, to go with a Kortni Kendrick 3-pointer, the Lady Comets posted 11 more, to continue to trail by 5 at the intermission.

       The Kansas girls did a much better job on the boards to start the 2nd half.  But 4 turnovers plagued the Lady Comets as they tried to cut into the Millwood lead.  Kansas’s Kendrick chipped in 7 of her team high 17 points, while the remainder of her team shot

1 of 8 from the floor and 2 of 4 from the charity strip for their 3rd straight 11 point frame. The Lady Falcons didn’t do much better, however; shooting 4 of 15 from the field.  But with their 8th and 9th  three pointers of the game, to go with 2 field goals and 3 free throws, Millwood extended their lead to 40-33, with a quarter to play.  And then the never-say-die Lady Comets went to work.  Starting the final quarter with some clutch treys by Kendrick and Courtney Cowan, Kansas went on an 8-0 run and regained the lead for the first time since leading 2-0 in the first.  By limiting the Lady Falcons to a pair of Yonita Robinson and Marisha Wallace field goals each, to go with two free throws, the Lady Comets held Millwood to their lowest scoring frame of the day.  And before the final amazing seconds the contest would be tied twice and the lead would change four times.  With the game tied at 49 apiece and 28 seconds to play, the Lady Falcons had

 possession and burned the clock as prelude to their final shot attempt.  And with under 5 seconds remaining Millwood’s Bowden went to the hoop and missed.  The ball careened off the backboard and in the ensuing scramble for the rebound, Kendrick was whistled for the unbelievable and controversial foul against JoVonna Mitchell, with a scant 1.5 seconds on the clock.  After a pair of Kansas timeouts Mitchell hit the first three throw and missed the 2nd, wherein the Lady Comets called a quick timeout.  The Lady Comet’s final play was well conceived.  With 1.1 seconds remaining to play Kansas’s Courtney Baker was handed the ball in front of the Lady Falcon bench.  Baker heaved the ball deep to Kendrick in the Lady Comet lane.  But Millwood’s Wallace tipped the ball away from Kendrick, where in the ensuing scramble the clock expired, sending Millwood to the championship bout on Saturday.

BETHANY-Leading from wire to wire, the Kansas Lady Comets blitzed the Lady Warriors of Washington in Thursday’s state quarter-final play at Southern Nazarene University in Bethany. On the heels of 4 Kelsey Barnwell points and a bucket each from Kortni Kendrick and Courtney Baker, Kansas jumped to an early 8-1 lead.  But Washington’s Kristin Milster led her team’s only significant run of the game, as she did all of the scoring for the Lady Warrior’s 8-2 run, to end the game’s opening quarter. After knocking down their first floor shot of the 2nd period, it looked as if Washington might have been on the comeback trail.  But the Lady Comets had other things in mind and despite an incredible 9-1 disparity in fouls, they went on a 10-2 run of their own.  And by the end of the first half, Barnwell had put in 10 more of her game high 18, in tandem with 9 of Brooke Panther‘s 15, that delivered a metaphorical standing 8 count to Washington.

       With Kansas leading 34-19, both teams started the 2nd half with some cold shooting. The Lady Warriors shot 4 of 14 from the floor for only 8 points in the 3rd. And after missing their opening 5 shots, the Lady Comets put in 5 of their next 7 floor attempts, extending their lead to 18, 45-27.  Following an 8-0 run to start the final chapter of the contest, Kansas was able to set down their starters, who had delivered an impressive 23 for 36 shots from the floor for a .639 shooting percentage.  The remaining four minutes of the game was contested by the teams’ respective benches.  And the Lady Comet reserves equated themselves admirably by chipping in 10 more toward the 63-38 victory.

       With Thursday’s blowout of the Lady Warriors, Kansas would get the opportunity to move to the semi-final round at the Oklahoma State Fair Arena on Friday, where they would take on the defending state champion Lady Falcons of OKC Millwood.