TULSA — It’s been a fairy-tale week for the McAlester girls basketball team. All that’s left is the final chapter. Despite not scoring in the second quarter, the Buffaloes took out second-ranked Tulsa Memorial 42-39 on Friday afternoon in a Class 5A Girls Basketball State Tournament semifinal at Oral Roberts’ Mabee Center. The seventh-ranked Buffaloes play in the championship tonight at 7 against Tulsa East Central. If McAlester wins, the Buffs will have beaten the top three ranked teams to earn the title. It is the second straight day McAlester has pulled off the upset, having defeated No. 1-ranked Carl Albert in the quarterfinals. "We were overlooked, but we never thought like we didn’t belong,” said McAlester coach Crystal Robinson. "My girls are so hungry right now.” McAlester, which won state titles in 1983 and 1992, wasn’t supposed to make such a strong surge this season. The Buffs were losing their star, Jaci Bigham, and Robinson was taking over the program. But from the beginning of the season, McAlester never took a step back. The Buffs ran out to a 17-6 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Tulsa Memorial outscored them 12-0 in the second quarter. McAlester (24-3) turned it around in the second half and did it the only way it knows how: with balance. No McAlester player scored in double digits, but Shaylee Griffin, Lashanda Green and Kirsty Cook all had eight points. Savannah Carter scored 13 for Tulsa Memorial.
T. East Central 53, Tulsa Washington 38A big first half by the Cardinals made sure there will be a new champion, knocking off the two-time defending champs. The Cardinals raced out to a 26-10 lead. But Tulsa Washington cut the lead to 30-25 midway through the third, led by sophomore Mariah Gilliam. The Cardinals weathered the storm and closed the quarter with a 7-2 run. Tulsa East Central (24-4) was led by freshman Ariel Williams’ 12 points. Gilliam scored all 13 of her points in the second half for BTW, and Kami Bunch pitched in with 10 points before fouling out.