BETHANY — An eight-year absence from the state tournament didn't bother Cushing on Thursday.
Instead, it thrived, taking advantage of poor shooting from Harrah to advance to the Class 4A girls basketball semifinals with a 41-36 victory at Southern Nazarene’s Sawyer Center.
Cushing (25-1) will play the winner of Weatherford and Fort Gibson at SNU at 8 p.m. Friday.
Che’Ron Lewis scored 13 points, 10 of which came in the first half despite picking up two fouls in the first quarter, and grabbed 13 rebounds.
“She’s just been money all year and our bread-and-butter,” Cushing coach Brad Crace said. “Tonight, you had triangle-two, box-and-one, double teams and she just finds way to scores and involves everybody.”
Mariah Burris also scored 11 points for Cushing.
Harrah (19-9) kept the game close until Mattea Jackson made two straight 3-pointers at the end of the third and to open the fourth for a 33-23 advantage.
“She had a little bit of a slump middle of the season,” Crace said. “She’s capable. Two huge 3s I thought was the difference in the game. Big momentum plays.”
Harrah, however, attempted to rally, getting within four on a 3-pointer with 1:12 remaining by Blake Blessington, who scored 12 points.
But Burris and Lewis each made free throws to put the game out of reach.
The Panthers shot just 12 of 40 overall.
Harrah’s Darian Hill led all scorers with 14 points.