By Ryan Costello, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Thomas-Fay-Custer sophomore Carley Frymire missed her first five shots from the field, but made all three of her attempts in the second half, including the game’s biggest basket.
Frymire hit a jumper from a step inside the three-pointå line with 5.9 seconds left and Lora Riley’s answer for No. 4 Alva fell short at the buzzer as the No. 9 Lady Terriers secured a third straight trip to 2A State Tournament with a 40-39 win Saturday in the Area 1 championship at the Chisholm Trail Expo Center.
Alva senior Jayna Hadwiger had two steals in the final 1:20, the second leading to a Jaden Hobbs layup to give the Ladybugs a 39-38 lead with 22 seconds left. After a Thomas miss, Hobbs missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Keela Hamar drove to the right corner to set up Frymire for the open shot on the right wing.
“I was going to set a screen for her and she ended up passing it to me,” Frymire said. “I knew I had to (shoot) since there were only six seconds left … I had to keep shooting — I don’t make any if I don’t shoot any.”
“That’s a little play that goes to Keela and her coming off ball screens,” Thomas coach Jay Wood said. “It’s something we work on every day at the end of practice, and it worked tonight, so we’ll take it.”
Bailey Forell inbounded the ball to Hadwiger near halfcourt, and after dodging a defender, Hadwiger found Riley unguarded at the right baseline for a 15-foot shot that front-rimmed at the buzzer.
“She got a good look,” Alva coach Eric Smith said. “I thought it was going to go in. It looked good. It was no one’s fault. We lose as a team, we win as a team.”
Alva led 32-28 after three quarters despite 12 turnovers, but Savana Marsh hit a three with 4:25 left in the game to give Thomas a 38-37 lead, its first since the opening seconds of the third quarter. Both teams remained scoreless until Hobbs’ layup with 85 seconds left, and Thomas outscored Alva 12-7 in the fourth.
Alva shot 36 percent on the game, including 12 misses on 14 attempts from three.
“We didn’t shoot it very well tonight,” Smith said. “It’s hard to shoot in here sometimes, maybe it was nerves, I don’t know. We just didn’t shoot very well from the perimeter tonight. Our defense kept us in it, and we had opportunities, we just didn’t capitalize on them. They hit a tough shot.”
Jamie Gibson scored a team-high 10 points for Thomas, which enters its third straight state bracket at 23-2.
Morgan Shiever scored a game-high 16 points and Hobbs finished with 13 and two steals for the Ladybugs (22-4), who play Pawnee 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Chisholm Trail Expo Center in the Area 1 consolation final, the winner of which secures a state berth. Alva beat Pawnee 58-35 in a region championship on Wednesday.
“We’ll be fine,” Smith said. “You’ve got to keep your head up. Thomas hit a last-second shot to beat us, so we regroup, bounce back and get ready to play Monday.”
THOMAS 60, ALVA 54 (B)
Chezden Nease scored 20 points and Justin Miller added 17 as unranked Thomas-Fay-Custer snapped Alva’s 22-game win streak and brought the Goldbugs within a loss of elimination, punching its own ticket to the 2A State Tournament along the way with a 60-54 win Saturday in the Area 1 final at the Chisholm Trail Expo Center.
Thomas shot 63 percent from the floor — four for five from three — in the second half and Alva couldn’t keep pace late in a back-and-forth fourth quarter that had four lead changes until Nease’s three with less than 1:30 left extended a one-point Terrier lead to 54-50.
Cade Pfleider scored on the next trip to pull Alva within 54-52, but the Goldbugs never could retake the lead as Thomas hit five of seven free throws in the final stretch to stay ahead.
“They were better prepared to play than we were,” Alva coach Paul Duncan said. “(Thomas coach) Jim (Petree) does an outstanding job, and he probably got me today. They shot the ball really well, so hats off to their kids.”
Thomas led for most of the second quarter and all of the third after outscoring Alva 17-8 on five second-quarter threes. But Reygan Martin banked in a three at the third-quarter buzzer to cut the Thomas lead to 42-40 entering the final quarter, and a Trevor Johnson three with 4:4- left in the game gave Alva its first lead since the start of the second at 48-47.
“One more stop and one more bucket, and I think we could have taken control,” Duncan said. “We couldn’t get that one more shot to fall. We had a couple shots to take the lead, and they made theirs. They made their free throws, and we missed a couple, and that’s the way it rolls.”
Thomas and Alva traded leads twice before Martin missed the front end of a one-and-one that led to Nease’s three to put the Terriers up 54-50.
“We just had to weather the storm,” Nease said. “They hit a bunch of good shots, hard shots. We just had to weather the storm and keep taking good shots.”
Alva, which averages eight turnovers a game, surrendered as many in the first half alone, six of them in the second quarter as Thomas took control.
“We turned the ball over way too much,” Duncan said. “If we do that again Monday, we’ll get beat again.”
Trent Dunaway added 13 including three threes, and Hayden Herrera scored six off the bench for Thomas (20-6), which secured its first state berth since 2010.
Martin finished with 12 and two steals, Pfleider had 12 points, two steals and seven rebounds for Alva, which plays Merritt for the consolation title and a state berth 8 p.m. Monday at the Chisholm Trail Expo Center. Merritt beat Crescent 58-45 on Saturday.
“We haven’t had (a loss) since Dec. 4, so this is new territory, uncharted territory,” Duncan said. “We’ll find out (how they handle it) on Monday. We’re just excited to have another chance to play.”