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Del City girls start 5A playoffs with decisive regional win against Duncan

Top-seeded Midwest City Carl Albert shakes off slow start to roll in its regional opener

By Christian Potts 

MIDWEST CITY - Sacha Hunt finished a postgame interview on the court and headed for the Del City locker room. 

She briefly stopped for one last set of congratulations after helping her team to a 64-40 victory against Duncan in the opening round of the Class 5A playoffs, in the 5A West Regional at Carl Albert High School.

Hunt flashed a big smile, yet also had a face that told the story, "We're just getting started."

Her Lady Eagles, officially the underdog as the No. 9 seed in the western half of the Class 5A bracket, looked like anything but that, leading right from the outset in ending the Lady Demons' season.

"It always feels good to go out there and get that first one," said Del City coach Mariah Webb. "I felt like we went out (Thursday) and we did a lot of things right."

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The Lady Eagles hit Duncan with an inside-outside barrage. Hunt led the charge, dropping a game-high 28 points that included four 3-point baskets and many tough drives to the hoop to either get herself points or set up teammates.

One of those teammates, center Sidney Thornton, did a lot of the rest, adding 17 points along with providing a physical presence at the rim that kept the Lady Demons from getting much done in the paint.

"We have somebody inside that's 6-foot-2, and not a lot of teams do," Webb said of Thornton. "And so we want to use her to the best of our ability, but we also know that we've got capable guards. We've got four or five of them that can do it, and let's play off of each other."

Defense was the backbone of all of the night's success for Del City.

The Lady Eagles kept Duncan scoreless for nearly five minutes to start the second half, extending a four-point halftime lead out to 41-26 on one of Hunt's treys.

The Lady Demons were only able to manage five second-half field goals and just 14 points after intermission as Del City pulled away and cruised home.

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"We stayed in what we started in, and that's been our identity, the past month of the season, is let's rely on our defense," Webb said. "We don't want to rely on anything else, but we know we can count on our defense."

Danyel Cox, who often drew the assignment on Duncan's leading scorer and lone senior, K.K. Miller, finished with 10 points while holding Miller to eight. Addie Siess also added eight for the Lady Demons, who finished the season 14-9.

No. 1 MWC Carl Albert 70, No. 16 Lawton Eisenhower 47

This started like anything but a typical 1 vs. 16 matchup.

The Lady Eagles raced out of the gate, forcing turnovers with their press and finishing off fast breaks. Just more than two minutes in, Mariah Hall's basket had given the visitors an 8-0 lead and forced Carl Albert coach Kyle Richey to call an early time out to regroup his squad.

Ike never trailed in the first quarter, which ended tied at 14-all. The game still was tied at 18 near the midway mark of the second before Carl Albert started imposing its will, forcing turnovers on six straight possessions and eventually getting out to a 12-point halftime advantage behind multiple 3-pointers from Skylar Anderson.

From there, the Lady Titans just had too much depth and defense for Ike, leading by as many as 33 in the second half. Anderson actually wound up as the only Carl Albert player in double figures, scoring 22 points. Ten other Lady Titans did score in the game.

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Hall, who has been a strong contributor all of her career for the Lady Eagles, finished with 14 before fouling out late. Yazmine Williams added 11.

Next for each winner is a rivalry rematch between the two schools, located only about six miles apart. And it's an interesting one, as the teams just met last Friday, with Del City scoring a 66-61 victory against the Lady Titans.

Del City entered that game just 8-12 on the season after facing a schedule filled with 6A competition and challenging tournaments. Now they're 10-12 but in the way they didn't look the part of a typical No. 9 seed, they haven't played like a sub-.500 team lately, either.

The sort of effort seen last week and in Thursday's playoff win will need to continue for Del City to make a postseason run, the Lady Eagles' coach said.

The stakes are higher a week later, with a regional championship and a 2-0 start to the playoffs on the line.

"It's going to take a lot of toughness, a lot of mental toughness," Webb said. "5A is tough, and we're playing at Carl Albert, and they've been one of the best teams in 5A all year long. So we've got to come out ready mentally and physically.

"We've got two hours to celebrate this win; after that it's game time, it's time to get ready."