It was just a matter of time until someone caught fire for No. 1 Fort Gibson.
Desiree Phipps was just that person.
She scored 30 points — 17 of which came in the second half — Thursday as the Tigers rallied and pulled away from No. 9 Elgin for a 61-45 victory in the Class 4A state quarterfinals at State Fair Arena.
“Tonight was just my night and next game it’ll be someone else who gets us going,” Phipps said. “We’re just a good team and we just help each other out.”
The Tigers await the winner of Vinita and Weatherford in Friday’s semifinals at 10:30 a.m.
And if Phipps continues her hot shooting, the Tigers could be tough to beat.
“We’ve been waiting for our team to hit a stride where somebody gets hot and gets going, because we’ve got good shooters on the floor out there and we’ve been struggling a little bit,” Ft. Gibson coach Jerry Walker said. “Des got it going for us tonight. Her and Allie (Glover) hit some 3s for us in that second half.”
Trailing 33-28 with three minutes left in the third, Glover nailed a 3-pointer in front of the Tigers’ bench, igniting the team.
Jayme Hill then made a basket with 2:15 remaining in the period to put Ft. Gibson ahead. Phipps then took over, scoring 17 of the final 28 points.
“Usually one of us gets on fire in the game and it just happened to be me tonight,” Phipps said. “I was feeling pretty good. I’ve never scored that much before and for it to be in the state tournament, it feels even better.”
Alongside Phipps, Savannah Gray added 10 points and Hill finished with six.
Elgin (20-6) was dominant in the first half, leading most of the time and getting eight points apiece from Ally Short and Kaitlyn Holmgren.
But the Owls wore down in the second half like the Tigers hoped.
“We talked about we’ve been here before,” Walker said. “That second half we felt like that length of the floor, if we kept putting pressure on them, it would take their legs out because they’re not very deep.”
Holmgren led the Owls with 18 points and six rebounds. Short finished with eight points.