Story and photo by: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
The No.11 ranked Charles Page High School girls' basketball team (17-8) is still alive in their playoff run after a close 46-43 win over No. 13 Booker T Washington (16-10) Thursday night in Catoosa.
The girls won their first Regional game against Union last week, guaranteeing their advancement to Area, but lost in the Regional Championship to No.4 Sapulpa (22-3), 48-40, meaning they have to take the long way to State by winning two straight at Area. Their win over Booker T puts them halfway there, now they just need to defeat No. 9 Owasso (19-7) Saturday at 1:30 PM.
Junior Sydney Pennington led the scoring effort for the Sandites with 14 points, followed by sophomore Gloria Mutiri who had a double-double with ten points and twelve rebounds.
The Lady Sandites took an early 11-3 lead before trailing off defensively toward the end of the first quarter, at one point allowing the Hornets to snag six straight offensive rebounds, and their opponent took a 17-13 lead early in the second.
Pennington tied things back up with a pair of layups and it was a back and forth affair from there. Rhys Anderson hit a two to take the lead back for Booker T. Sandite freshman Destiny Johnson missed a two but Mutiri rebounded and tied things up at 19-19. Anderson sank another shot, followed by Mutiri, then freshman Holly Kersgieter snatched a half court steal and hit the layup with five seconds left in the half to take the lead back for the Sandites.
Kambri Davis hit a three, followed by Taylor Sells with a two and it was the Hornets with a 26-23 lead to start the second half. Pennington, Kersgieter, and Mutiri went on a 6 point run for Sand Springs to take back the lead for a while, but the Hornets found 5 points of their own to carry a 33-31 advantage into the final stanza.
The lead exchanged hands five times in the fourth period, but Sand Springs emerged to a definitive lead off a run from Johnson who sank a field goal and three free throws to give her team a 44-39 advantage. Sells hit a two and added a free throw and it continued to come down to the wire as both teams were in the double bonus with 1:16 to play.
Aiya El-Hassan had a chance to tie things up from the charity stripe, but missed her second shot and senior Cierra Scott was fouled on the rebound and sent to the line to score the final points of the night.
If the girls can overcome Owasso on Saturday, they'll advance to the State Championship tournament for the first time in half a decade. It won't be easy. The girls defeated the Lady Rams 51-48 earlier this season, but the last time the two teams met it was Owasso with a 53-48 victory.
Come out and support your girls Saturday afternoon at 1:30 at Catoosa High School, right up the road from the Hard Rock Casino! It's been an incredible year of State Championship appearances from Sand Springs, let's rally around our incredible athletes and send another team to the top!