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East Central defeats Piedmont in Class 5A state semifinals

Blake Colston
sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

TULSA  – Mykayla Dumas scored a game-high 18 points and had 13 rebounds to lead No. 2 Tulsa East Central past fourth-ranked Piedmont 59-46 Friday night in a Class 5A girls state semifinal game at the Mabee Center in Tulsa.

Blake Colston/Gazette Piedmont's Maci Attalla puts up a shot around East Central's Jadyn Byrd Friday night at the Mabee Center in Tulsa.

Blake Colston/Gazette
Piedmont’s Maci Attalla puts up a shot around East Central’s Jadyn Byrd Friday night at the Mabee Center in Tulsa.

The loss ended Piedmont’s season at 23-4 overall while East Central advanced to the state title game where they’ll play the winner of Ardmore and Tahlequah.

Dumas and Oklahoma State signee Ja’mee Asberry, who scored 16 points and had four steals, led the way for East Central (24-4) in a decisive second half. The Cardinals improved to 12-0 against Class 5A competition this season with the win.

East Central flipped a 30-24 deficit in the second quarter with a 17-0 run that spanned portions of the second and third quarters to build a lead it held the rest of the game.

“We stopped attacking the rim and weren’t making our shots on the inside and we missed free throws,” Piedmont head coach Stark said of what allowed the run to occur. “Other than that we played pretty well.”

After trailing by as many as 13, Piedmont battled back to within seven in the third quarter and the Lady ‘Cats made four consecutive defensive stops to give themselves a chance to pull closer. Piedmont missed two free throws and had three other shots roll around the rim and fall off, though, and never trimmed the deficit further.

“If anybody knew how to fight back with a little bit of time on the clock it would’ve been them,” Stark said of her team. “If those shots had fallen like they have before we would’ve been in the game. It just wasn’t our night.”

The game was even at 30 at half despite Piedmont owning a better shooting percentage overall (45 percent to 32) and from 3-point range (4 of 9 compared to 0 of 6 for East Central). The Cardinals stayed alive with 11 second-chance points on 13 offensive rebounds. Dumas had 14 points and eight rebounds by half.

“We were in a little bit in foul trouble and trying to slow it down a little bit,” Stark said. “With our substitutions there we kind of knew we were going to give up some rebounding. That was a risk we took and it kept us out of foul trouble.”

Maci Attalla scored 12 points to go with 12 rebounds to lead Piedmont. Attalla, a sophomore, averaged 19.5 points and 13 rebounds in the first state tournament games of her career. Senior Hannah Reasoner scored 11 points on 3 of 5 shooting from 3-point range. Maddie Sperle had 10 points and seven rebounds.

This was the final game at Piedmont for Reasoner, Sperle, McKenna Kirkpatrick, Kish Chandler and Callie Post. They ended their careers with three state tournament appearances and went to the state semifinals twice. They were after Piedmont’s first state title since 1967.

“Our seniors did a great job. I really believe we were the underdog this entire year. I don’t think anybody thought they could get this far,” Stark said. “Even though some teams may have had more talent, our girls fought harder.”

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