By Andrew Glover
OKLAHOMA CITY — With his undefeated Lady Demons facing the undefeated Sulphur Lady Bulldogs in the Class 3A state championship, Perkins-Tryon coach Jerry Burnett said his team needed to avoid falling behind early to have a chance.
In the first quarter, the Lady Demons fell behind and couldn't recover in a 42-34 loss at Jim Norick State Fair Arena.
"We dug a hole early," Burnett said. "That was the game right there. We played even the rest of the way. We were able to make some runs at them. They came out of the gates ready to go and we didn't."
The Lady Bulldogs (30-0) led 9-2 after the first quarter. The Lady Demons never led and was tied once early. In the first half, P-T shot 4 of 17 from the field and trailed 19-9. Senior Lacey Shipp said they were a little shocked after falling behind.
"We never played behind before, that was a first," Shipp said. "I think that knocked the air out of us a little bit. We didn't do what our (coaches) told us to do and we got beat."
The Lady Demons were missing the offensive prowess of their senior post McKenzie Stanford, who didn't score in the first half. Burnett said that was more her than them
"It was more McKenzie not stepping up," Burnett said. "She just got caught up in the emotions of the game. She's a better player than that."
The Lady Demons (28-1) rallied at the beginning of the second half. Seniors McKenzie Stanford and Jordan Gorham and sophomore Bailey Wensler each scored a basket, pulling P-T within four. The scoring of Sulphur's Ashley Hughes kept Perkins at a distance as she scored 8 points in the third and pushed the Lady Bulldogs lead to 29-20 after the third.
Perkins-Tryon wasn't able to make a serious push in the fourth only getting within six. In her final game, Gorham led the team in scoring with 13 and in rebounds with six. The senior was very emotional after the final buzzer.
"It's hard getting this close and not reaching your goal," Shipp said.
The Lady Demons graduates four - Gorham, Stanford, Shipp and Jeri Adkism. Burnett said his team will be different next year.
"We were a post-oriented team," Burnett said. "Next year we are going to be guard-oriented and spread the floor.