A late surge took Chickasha into the regional final, and the area round of playoffs, against Bethany on Thursday night.
The seventh-ranked Fightin’ Chicks finally tipped the scales late in the third quarter to come away with a 63-51 win. The reward is a regional final appearance on Saturday in front of a home crowd against either Elk City or Cache.
Head Coach Wes Pulliam called the game one of Colton Christian’s best. The senior came away with 17 points – co-leading the team with Caleb Nichols – four rebounds and a pair of blocks while locked in a battle with Bethany’s Logan O’Neal all night.
O’Neal helped keep Bethany in the game late, netting 11 points in the second half and 15 for the game. Hassan Lawton sank four three-pointers to lead the Bronchos with 16 points.
Bethany took an early advantage, with Ventura and O’Neal hitting a couple of shots to put them up by six. Henderson hit a three-pointer early in the second quarter to bring Chickasha back within one.
Christian scored seven points in the second quarter alone to help Chickasha to a halftime lead. The battle between him and O’Neal kept things interesting well into the second half.
At times, the Bethany big man did what he wanted. He was a constant source of points and even came away with three blocks at the other end.
He worked with David Miller to bring Bethany back in front early in the third quarter with some quick buckets. But the Fightin’ Chicks were able to spread Bethany’s defense thinner and found points around the paint.
Chickasha worked its lead up to nine, driven by a flourishing partnership between Henderson and Christian. The pair exchanged passes for a pair of buckets to give the Fightin’ Chicks momentum heading into the fourth quarter.
O’Neal stepped back for a three early in the fourth as the Bronchos looked to chase Chickasha down once again. Senior Braeden Blakes came alive late, sinking eight points in the fourth quarter as Chickasha looked to seal the win.
Back-to-back buckets from Blakes canceled out O’Neal’s attempt and helped keep Chickasha ahead.