Perkins-Tryon coach Jerry Burnett was prepared for Millwood to make a run at the opening of the fourth quarter.
And despite both Bailey Wensler and Jordan Gorham having four fouls and missing the majority of the third, Burnett put them back on the floor.
The risk paid off in a big way as the second-ranked Demons pulled away for a 63-42 victory over the defending champions in the Class 3A semifinals Friday morning at State Fair Arena.
“We knew Millwood was going to make a run at us,” Burnett said. “Jessica Foster came off the bench and did an excellent job, Siara Breeden came in and did an excellent job.
“They picked it up and we played well with those girls in the game.”
Perkins-Tryon awaits the winner of Sulphur and Adair at 2 p.m. Saturday for its first title game since 1997, when it finished runner up.
With Wensler and Gorham back in the game, Perkins-Tryon (28-0) turned a five-point game into a rout, outscoring Millwood 21-5.
When Millwood got within 10 midway through the quarter, Wensler delivered a back-breaking 3-pointer from the right corner.
“I guess I was just feeling it,” she said.
She only finished with nine points, but eight came in the fourth quarter.
“Sometimes you cringe when they take those, but they’re good when they go in,” Burnett said about Wensler’s 3.
Senior McKenzie Stanford scored 15 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, while Gorham – an Oklahoma Christian signee -- scored 13 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. Point guard Jeri Adkism also added 14 points and five assists.
The Demons never trailed, which was big for the game plan. That allowed them to remain in their 1-3 chaser zone, neutralizing Millwood senior Teanna Reid, who finished with a game-high 16 points.
“If they would have got the lead, we would have had to pull out of our zone if they would have held it just right,” Burnett said.
Millwood (24-5) also struggled from the free throw line, making just 12 of 23. Meanwhile, Perkins-Tryon made 24 of 32.
“They hit their free throws,” Millwood coach Arnelia Spears said. “We just kept them at the free throw line and that’s bad. They didn’t miss any. That’s part of the game, but we wasn’t hitting ours.”