DEL CITY — Back on Jan. 19, a tight Mid-Del girls basketball showdown went the way of Midwest City, when Del City couldn't make the clutch plays in the closing minutes.
When the two teams met again Saturday, Del City was able to close the door, breaking a 43-43 fourth-quarter tie with an 11-0 run to seal the win.
It's the difference between a Del City squad that was struggling to find its way in January, and one that is playing more like a team deserving of the top-five ranking it had early in the season.
As the playoffs begin on Thursday, teams will see the Eagles' 10-12 record and No. 11 ranking and view them as a middle-of-the-pack team. But don't be fooled.
“We're peaking at the right time,” coach Karri Sears said. “Everybody looks at our record and says, ‘eh.' But not everybody plays the teams we play day-in and day-out like we do.
“We know that we've got a quality basketball team.”
Dionna Collins, who had 19 points in Saturday's win over Midwest City, has anchored the Eagles' resurgence as they head into the playoffs battle-tested and playing well.
“Dionna is the core,” Sears said. “If she's off or on, it doesn't matter, as long as we can get these kids playing around her. It's just little things. We continue to get offensive boards, and I want them to keep fighting.
“We're getting more and more kids in double-figures, and when defenses shut one person down, we have other kids stepping up and hitting big shots.”
Shaletha Clark and Alaisha Castleberry came through with big buckets against Midwest City, and the Eagles had four scorers in double-figures in a tight win over Norman on Feb. 8.
Del City will face Altus at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Carl Albert in a win-or-go-home playoff opener. The host Titans will meet Southeast at 8 p.m. Thursday with the winners to square off in the regional final at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
While the west side of the Class 5A playoff bracket has some strong teams at the top, Del City feels it is ready for the challenge.
“We've got lots of momentum and it's gonna just propel us into the playoffs, just because they're starting to trust each other and realize we're in this for a reason,” Sears said. “They're not fighting over who's on the floor, who's getting this time, who's getting this.
“If they'll continue to come together, we can go a long ways. We've got some great kids.”