Many of Okarche's players suited up for their first game inside State Fair Arena on Friday.
Early on, it showed.
The game started, and before long the young Warriors were down 10 points to No. 1 Chattanooga in the Class A semifinals.
Something about the deficit took pressure off, and Okarche went on a 21-0 run on its way to a 42-39 win.
The first 15 points of the run all came on 3-pointers.
“To start the game, we were really nervous,” said sophomore Morgan Vogt, who led Okarche with 15 points. “We weren't playing like ourselves. We started lightening up and playing like we know we can.”
It wasn't just Okarche's offense that got going, but also the defense. Chattanooga managed just one second-quarter point.
“We had nothing to lose,” said Okarche coach Cherie Myers. “We were down, so we finally loosened up.”
Chattanooga (26-5) wasn't going away though. The top-ranked team in Class A was playing in its fourth straight state tournament, returned all five starters from last year's team and had senior post Jaime Brown, who led all scorers with 19 points.
Chattanooga scored 18 points in the third quarter and trailed by just one heading into the final frame.
“We started to get nervous again because they were starting make a run,” Vogt said.
Myers said, “We just got excited and started playing tight again. We're young and we had to loosen back up.”
Now, Okarche (25-7), which starts two freshmen and two sophomores, advances to the Class A state championship game to face either Frontier or Copan, who played later Friday.
Okarche was the 2010 state champions, but didn't make the tournament last season.