That journey ended Saturday at ORU, celebrating with a locker room dance once the team finally gathered there long after the game had ended.
“It makes it even better to do it against them,” Blanchard said. “We're a completely different team than we were the first time we played them.”
Blanchard scored 16 and Dakota Vann scored 14 — all in the second half.
It wasn't easy, though, even against a Shawnee team missing its leading scorer, McKenzie Cooper.
For the second consecutive day, Shawnee sophomore Bailey Taylor wore Cooper's No. 20. Cooper injured her knee in Friday's first-round win over Tulsa Memorial.
Taylor helped carry Shawnee early, hitting three 3-pointers in the first half.
She led the Wolves with 19 points. Micaela Yu had 12 for Shawnee.
Deer Creek led by 11 around the midpoint of the fourth when the Wolves scored eight consecutive points to pull to within three in the final two minutes.
But the Antlers regained their footing defensively and hit their free throws in the closing minutes to seal the school's third girls basketball state championship.
“We just stuck together as a family,” Gibson said. “We didn't want to let each other down.”