PIEDMONT, Okla. — Like a roaring fire, the Chickasha girls continue to burn.
A 42-32 victory over Western Heights was their fourth in a row, but perhaps the most crucial as it came in the first round of regional playoffs in Piedmont on Thursday and prevented elimination at the first hurdle.
Sophomore Areanna Combs led the floor with 19 points. She was tough to guard, but ended up being the only real threat. Chickasha offered two in double-digits, led by senior Alex Stewart with 18 points.
The Lady Chicks went off to a fast start, much of that down to a quick five points from Stewart. Sylvester was also active with four points early, the size advantage working in Chickasha’s favor.
Life got a little harder when Western Heights turned up the defensive intensity. Areanna Combs took off on a steal for a quick bucket before Karen Hopkins hit a three to take the deficit to just one, down from six as the second quarter started.
That three served to spring Chickasha into action. Stewart responded with a three of her own, and that sparked a 12-2 run. The Lady Chicks were pulling out everything. Sylvester hit from midrange before Jacklyn Ramos took them further. She lined up for a long jumper from the right corner, sinking it easily.
In the face of stiff opposition, Chickasha responded in kind defensively. A swarm in the corner sent Jaycie Brown streaming down the right before sending it cross court to Ramos. She jump stopped, fake all of the Jets defenders out, and stepped a few feet forward for another sweet jumper. By halftime, Chickasha led by 10 and had all the momentum.
They kept that going into the second half. Stewart drove in for a close-range jumper to extend their lead out of the break after Sylvester sank another. In fact the only one who didn’t seem to be getting in on the scoring was Dominique Golightly, who was constantly hounded, even more so on the block. All four of her points came from the free-throw line, but there were plenty of other ways she contributed.