Thomas went to its bag of tricks and pulled out a play it rarely uses near the end of a ballgame. Of course, the Terriers have not been in too many scenarios this basketball season where it needed a clutch bucket.
Kaila Royalty splashed a 3-pointer with 4.4 seconds left in the game Thursday afternoon, and No. 7-ranked Thomas trimmed No. 5 Tonkawa 38-35 in the first round of the Class 2A Girls State Basketball Tournament at Abe Lemons Arena. Thomas (23-1) advanced to Friday's 7:30 p.m. semifinals vs. Fairview at the Big House on the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds but only after the Terriers' “skip play” was executed to perfection.
Thomas returned from a timeout with hopes of avoiding overtime — especially since Tonkawa (27-2) has been so resilient during the postseason. The Bucs made their first girls state basketball tournament in school history by winning twice in regionals by one point and one area game in overtime. So Thomas preferred to avoid a five-minute OT session.
The Terriers got the job done.
Keela Hamar drew two defenders near Thomas' bench, but she managed to heave a cross-court pass over four outstretched arms to a wide-open Royalty in the corner. The senior immediately launched the basketball, which cleanly ripped the cords for the deciding trey.