Chelsea Dungee has been here before.
So as a seasoned sophomore, she offers this advice to Preston teammates as they enter Saturday’s 2 p.m. state championship basketball game for Class 2A girls:
Relax. Take care of the ball. Take one possession at a time.
Basic stuff, Dungee said after leading Preston to a 49-41 semifinal victory over Tonkawa on Friday afternoon at State Fair Arena. Dungee, who has already verbally committed to play college ball at Oklahoma, scored 14 of her game-high 16 points in the second half to help the Pirates (27-4) advance to their ninth title game at the Big House in school history.
The Pirates will play either Millwood or Cordell for the state championship. Those teams were scheduled to play at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Dungee hopes to add a gold ball to an impressive resume of achievements. Last summer alone, the 5-foot-10 forward helped her AAU team, Cy-Fair, win the Nike Nationals championship. She was also a member of the USA Basketball U-16 squad that won gold at the FIBA Americas Tournament.
“This one will be the most important to me,” Dungee said. “We spend all year with each other working hard — we just spend so many hours together trying to get better. It would be nice to win one with them.”
Tonkawa (22-7) did a good job containing Dungee in the first half. The Bucs limited Preston’s go-to gal to a pair of free throws and 0 for 4 shooting from the field. Tonkawa led 23-22 at intermission, but Preston coach Jeff Weedn knew “if we could get them to guard Chelsea one-on-one it would be to our advantage.
“I don’t think there is anyone in the state that can guard Chelsea one-on-one.”
The adjustments worked. Dungee was 4 of 6 from the field in the second half. She added six free throws and three rebounds. Preston took the lead for good with 3:08 left in the third quarter when Dungee scored five consecutive points, including free throws after Tonkawa’s Baylee Jackson was called for a technical foul.
“We knew that if we could get the lead we would be in good shape,” Weedn said.
Jordan Ivey and Alison Raley had six rebounds each for Preston. Valerie Allen led Tonkawa with 13 points.