“For our team to battle and go out and keep the game tied at halftime was big for us,” Deer Creek coach Totsy Manning said. “Late, we knew Ashley had the mismatch there with a guard on her so we took advantage of it.
“She’s great with her back to the basket.”
Deer Creek is looking for its third title in school history. The Antlers also won in 2006 and 1966.
Darreion Clark led East Central with 16 points. Ariel Williams added 13.
The game was back and forth throughout, with the lead changing hands 10 times and no team leading by more than five until Gibson’s shot with just more than a minute left put the Antlers up by six, 43-37.
East Central briefly pulled within two with 33 seconds to go but Whitney Jones hit a pair of free throws to keep the Cardinals from coming any closer and Blanchard pulled down a critical rebound in the closing seconds to seal the win.