Anadarko coach Jeff Zinn didn’t throw things in the locker room at halftime.
Instead, he was brutally honest with his players facing a 27-13 halftime deficit to Mount St. Mary during Friday’s Class 4A semifinals.
He told them he didn’t know if they had the heart to rally in the second half.
“I was pretty up front with them and told them exactly that we’re letting them do what they want to do,” Zinn said. “I’ve said all week it’s about us making them do what we want them to do to win.”
Sophomore Tandra King heard those words and responded, scoring six quick points to start the third and sparking a stifling defensive effort that helped the third-ranked Warriors complete a remarkable comeback in a 50-40 win against the sixth-ranked Rockets.
“First two quarters we were playing slow and weren’t going hard,” King said. “We just came out ready to play third and fourth quarter.
“We wasn’t playing very good defense first and second half. Third quarter we just came out ready to play. We was scared, shaking and nervous and then we just wanted it.”
Anadarko (26-4) plays defending champion Fort Gibson at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in State Fair Arena looking for its second title in three years. The Warriors beat the Tigers in the 2012 championship.
Friday, they were dismal in the first half, shooting 20 percent and failing to get a stop. That changed in the second half, as they shot 58 percent.
Anadarko also held Mount St. Mary to just two field goals in the second half, outscoring the Rockets 27-13.
“I’ve never seen a turnaround like this,” King said. “We just blew it up.”
King finished with 17 points, while Ashley Beatty added 13 for the Warriors.
Mount St. Mary (23-7) was led by American University signee Kaely Bond’s 16 points a night after she struggled to make a shot, finishing 2 of 18.
The Rockets, though, ultimately fell short of beating Anadarko in the semifinals for a second straight year.
“Last year when we played this team, we depended on Lakota (Beatty) a lot,” King said. “Now we came back and beat them a second time in a row. It feels great to beat them because they’ve got a senior team and we’re really young, so we’ve got another chance next year.”