By Andrew Glover
OKLAHOMA CITY — With the Lady Demons holding a five-point advantage entering the fourth quarter, coach Jerry Burnett said his team needed to look within and gut it out. In the final quarter, the Lady Demons responded.
Perkins-Tryon pulled away and secured a spot in the Class 3A state finals with a 63-42 victory over the Millwood Lady Falcons in the state semifinals at Jim Norick State Fair Arena.
"We are happy as we can be," Burnett said. "We played hard and stuck with the gameplan."
In the first half, P-T struggled offensively with 7 turnovers and shot 38 percent from the field. Despite that, the Lady Demons held a 28-20 lead at halftime. Perkins-Tryon never trailed in the first half. In the third quarter, the Lady Demons led by as much as 11 but field goals by Millwood's Teanna Reid, Da'Neshia Threat and Raven Prince cut the lead.
"We knew we couldn't stop playing," P-T senior McKenzie Stanford said. "It was exciting. It was an experience you will never be able to explain."
After exchanging baskets in the fourth, P-T finally pulled away. Sophomore Bailey Wensler hit four free throws and a 3-pointer, pushing the Lady Demons' lead to 13. Senior Lacey Shipp followed with a 3-pointer. In the last minute, Burnett slowly took his starters off the floor as a trip to the state finals was in hand.
"We were able to hit some shots from the outside and that always helps," Burnett said. "Jessica Foster and Siara Breeden came in when we got in foul trouble and did an excellent job for us."
The Lady Demons (28-0) had six players score. Stanford led the team with 15. Junior Jeri Adkism followed with 14, including two 3-pointers. Senior Jordan Gorham scored 13 and led the team with 15 rebounds.
"We worked on what we would do in the state tournament," Stanford said. "Whenever coach says go out there and sink those shots, it's game shots at game speed."
Perkins-Tryon will play in the Class 3A state championship at 2 p.m. Saturday in Jim Norick State Fair Arena against the winner of Sulphur and Adair, setting up a matchup of undefeated teams.
“We worked so hard to get here,” Gorham said. “We set our goals high to where we are going to work for everything.”
"We will take on whichever one wants to play," Burnett said.