Afton picked up the statement win the Eagles have been looking for.
The 19th-ranked Eagles rallied from a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter to claim a 65-61 victory over Christian Heritage Academy of Del City
Saturday night in the Class 2A Area III Region C final held at Hominy.
"The kids played hard," said Afton coach David Markes. "They showed a lot of heart to come back from seven down. We are looking forward to playing
AHS now battles the No. 1 ranked Pawnee Black Bears Friday at 8 p.m. in the Area III winners bracket final at Bixby. The winner moves on to the state tournament while the loser plays again Saturday night.
The Afton Lady Eagles will play Quapaw in first-round Area Tournament action Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in Bixby.
"It keeps us on the winners side," Markes said. "Everybody is beatable at least once."
The Eagles held a 24-15 edge in the fourth quarter, erasing a five-point deficit heading into the final stanza.
"We played better defense in the fourth quarter," Markes said.
The teams battled to a 16-16 draw in the first quarter then the Crusaders went up 32-29 at intermission.
Christian Heritage, ranked eighth by OKRankings.com, who won the Oklahoma Christian School Association title last year but is in its first season of OSSAA membership, held a 14-12 edge in the third period.
Shawn Free had 10 points and Coy Crane added six to lead the Afton charge in the fourth quarter.
Free had 28 points for the Eagles, matching his season-high output. Sixteen of that came in the second half. He was 6-for-6 at the line. Crane added 15 points and Ryan Markes chipped in with 11.
Junior Cho Clemens had 20 points for Christian Heritage and Chase Lindsey chipped in with 15.
Preston Bullard joined them in double figures, scoring 10.
A 24-20 edge over the final eight minutes helped Afton capture a 74-70 victory over Foyil in a winners bracket game at the Class 2A Area III sub-regional in Ketchum Thursday.
"The kids showed a lot of heart," Markes said. "We played a really good man (defense) in the fourth quarter."
Foyil used a 20-14 edge in the third period to forge a 50-50-tie heading into the final stanza.
Crane had 10 of his 20 points and Free added seven in the fourth quarter as the Eagles put together their game-winning rally.
"Foyil has a good team," Markes said.
Free, Crane and Ryan Markes combined for 64 of the Eagles 74 points in the game. Free finished with 25 points while Crane added 20. Markes chipped in with 19 points.
Taylor Antle scored 24 points to head up the Panthers scoring. Ryan Ridgeway had 15 points and Dylan Noland hit 10.