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By Glen Miller
EDMOND – What on paper seemed a tall order to accomplish got even bigger on the court Thursday night for El Reno High School’s girls basketball team in the Class 5A West Area II Consolation tourney.
El Reno, ranked No. 20 in the state, needed two wins over teams ranked ahead of them in order to grab one of two tickets to state from the Area II bracket.
Unfortunately, Lawton MacAthur’s 6-1 post player Alaysia Vann had other ideas.
The Highlanders, ranked No. 10 in the state, blocked 10 El Reno shots on the night – nine of those by Vann. The effort propelled MacArthur to a 43-32 win and swatted the Indians out of the postseason with a 9-15 overall record.
Vann blocked or partially rejected five of El Reno’s 11 shots in the fourth period as EHS attempted to trim a 10-point deficit to start the frame.
El Reno, which trailed by 10 after three periods, closed the gap to 38-30 on four free throws by Sheridan Gray – the last pair coming with 7:21 to play.
However, thanks in part to Vann, El Reno did not score again until Alaney Karty skipped a jumper off the backboard with 1:12 left to trim a 12-point Highlanders’ lead to 10 points.
Over El Reno’s 6:09 scoring drought, the Indians missed nine scoring opportunities and turned the ball over nine times in the frame.
The game was close in the first half with one tie and five lead changes. El Reno got two Karty 3-pointers in the first period and added a late running jumper by Taleigh Davis to lead 11-6.
MacArthur answered back with three inside baskets from Vann and a 3-pointer from its guards to regain the lead at 17-16. The Highlanders went on a 7-3 run to close the half, with Jentri Thompson’s trey just before the half clawing EHS to within one at the break 20-19.
It remained a one possession difference until the Highlanders went on a 10-2 run to close out the quarter with a 36-26 lead.
El Reno closed the game shooting 11-of-43 from the floor for 25 percent. The Indians were 6-of-26 from inside the arc (23%), while hitting 5-of-17 (29%) from the outside.
Grey led El Reno with a line of 11 points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists. Karty followed with 10 points, three boards and an assist.
Owen led those in single digits with four points, seven caroms and a dish. Thompson added four rebounds to her totals, while Allora Bellymule grabbed five boards to go with one basket.
Sierra Bellymule walked away with four assists and two caroms