CHOCTAW — Jaylee Mills has been wearing a mask for about four weeks after breaking her nose.
She says it tends to bother her during games.
That wasn't the case Thursday night as she made three crucial free throws in the final 30 seconds to help No. 3 Balko hold off No. 7 Deer Creek-Lamont 42-39 in the Class B girls state tournament quarterfinals.
“I just had to put them in the hole,” Mills said. “I just got up there and shot them (not thinking about the mask).”
Balko will face Lomega Friday at 1:30 p.m. in State Fair Arena.
Mills finished with eight points, while teammates Madison Dearmin and Kelsie Stephens added 14 and 12 points.
Chi Anne Jeffries missed the tying shot for DC-Lamont with 1 second remaining. Stephens then made the final free throw after grabbing the rebound and being fouled.
Mills also had to play through the final part of the game after being hit in her nose, which she said only added to the frustrations with the mask.
“She's been able to step up and tonight wasn't one of her better games,” Balko coach Mitch Cowan said. “She's done things down the stretch and she's the girl we look to.”