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Oklahoma 5A/6A girls postseason recap: Deep Edmond Memorial squad rolls into area round

6A contender Lady Bulldogs getting healthy at the right time

By Christian Potts 

EDMOND - After fighting through some late-season injuries, things appear to be getting back on schedule for Edmond Memorial.

The Lady Bulldogs mirrored the efforts of most of the other regional hosts in Classes 6A and 5A on Saturday, cruising to a regional championship with a 76-45 victory against Moore.

The Lady Bulldogs have one of the deepest squads in any division, regularly going nine or 10 deep within even the first quarter of games. It gives coach Rachel Crabaugh a plethora of options and leads to many games like Saturday's, where five different players scored in double figures.

"We've got a really deep bench, and lots of players have gotten lots of minutes," said senior point guard Baylor Franz. "I've never played on a team like this. We've got lots of threats, and it's going to be really fun this playoffs."

That depth has been tested this season.

Star sophomore guard Janiyah Williams missed the last eight weeks with injury before returning for Thursday's first-round win against Lawton. Senior starters Lexi Hensley and Franz also missed some time down the stretch, forcing pretty much everyone else into a more expanded role.

"We started the year kind of like this thinking, we're so deep, how are we going to work with these rotations?" Crabaugh said. "And then we got kind of hit with the injury bug, and we're so thankful that we have the talent, and it gave these girls time to kind of get prepared.

"Our motto this season is 'Next play,' and you never know when it's your time. You never know which girl's capable of stepping up, which makes our team kind of dangerous."

As it did during those times without everyone healthy, Memorial had different players lead the way in different stretches of this game. Moore came out fast, never trailing in the first quarter and leading by as much as seven before taking a 14-9 edge to the second quarter.

But Williams sparked a strong start to the second quarter with an assist, a steal and a bucket, giving Memorial its first lead in the first minute of the frame. Later, she keyed a run with back-to-back possessions on tough drives to extend the lead to 31-23.

In all, Williams scored her first 10 points in that quarter, adding to 10 in the first half from Addy Johnson as Memorial took a 37-25 lead to the locker room.

Then it was Franz's turn. After a scoreless first half, the Bulldogs' point guard hit Moore for 10 points in a decisive 26-8 third quarter that put the game well out of reach.

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"We just knew we wanted to win our last game on our home court," Franz said. "We just had to continue to play good pressure defense and know everyone has their role, and we all need to focus on our team instead of the individual game."

Johnson led Memorial with 14 points, and Williams contributed 13. Senior Kailyn Berry played an active inside-out game with 12 points and big plays on both ends.

Franz and Avery Hjelmstad each added 10, and 11 Lady Bulldogs in all got into the scoring column.

The return of Williams, an athletic talent who already has offers from the likes of Tennessee and Oregon, is a boost as well. In her first season after transferring from Stillwater, she has integrated well into the Lady Bulldogs' system.

"One thing when she came, you think she's a superstar, what does she look like coming into a new team, and she shares the ball very well," Crabaugh said. "Whenever she has a breakaway, she's going to look for an assist instead of looking for her points. She's an all-around team player, which is very nice."

Moore was paced by 12 points from guard Albony Bryles, nine from Taryn Cottrell and eight from Madeline Bills.

The Lady Lions (12-12) will face Norman North in one of four 6A elimination games on Thursday night. Those teams have split two meetings this year, each winning by 8 points on their respective home floors.

The 5A and 6A squads who fell Saturday all still are alive in the consolation bracket and need two wins this coming week to reach the state tournament.

Here is a look at what happened around Class 6A and Class 5A in Saturday's second round of the playoffs for the divisions:

Class 5A

Glenpool had one of the longest road trips in the state this weekend, traveling some 200 miles from its location south of Tulsa all the way to Lawton.

But they found plenty of room on the bus ride home for a regional championship trophy, as the Lady Warriors took down host Lawton MacArthur, 64-54.

Glenpool was shifted into the western half of the playoff tournament due to an imbalance of squads between the east and the west, and their No. 5 seed forced them to play at the site of the No. 4 Lady Highlanders. Following an opening 66-44 triumph against Altus, Glenpool took care of business Saturday to reach the area finals.

Mac led by double digits in the first half and had a 30-21 halftime advantage before a big second half effort from Glenpool, which improved to 17-8 on the season.

Next for Glenpool is No. 1 seed Midwest City Carl Albert, which survived a tough challenge from rival Del City, breaking a late third-quarter tie to pull away for a 58-46 victory.

The other top seeds all held serve. In the West, No. 2 Piedmont toppled No. 7 Guthrie, 52-43, while No. 3 El Reno took down No. 11 Guymon, 79-37, setting up an area final matchup between Piedmont and the defending state runner-up Lady Indians.

In the East, the top four seeds all advanced. No. 1 Sapulpa beat up on defending state champion McAlester, 67-37, setting up a semifinal test against No. 4 Tulsa Rogers, a 47-43 winner against Pryor.

On the other side of the bracket, No. 2 Tahlequah took down No. 7 Shawnee, 51-41, and No. 3 Tulsa Holland Hall defeated No. 6 Grove, 54-34.

Class 6A

No. 5 East seed Broken Arrow seems to be peaking at the right time.

The Lady Tigers brought a five-game winning streak into Saturday and then came up with one of their biggest wins of the season, claiming a regional championship on the road at No. 4 Choctaw, 60-54.

Next up for the Lady Tigers is top seed Tulsa Booker T. Washington, which survived a huge scare from No. 8 Jenks before prevailing in overtime, 66-63, on sophomore Rhyian Mayberry's late 3-pointer. The Lady Trojans got a huge game out of Jill Twiehaus, who scored 28 points.

No. 2 Bixby found no problem against Owasso in a 74-22 triumph, setting up a showdown with No. 3 Norman, which cruised past Sand Springs, 63-36.

On the West side, the top seeds all joined Edmond Memorial in holding serve. No. 1 Edmond North pounded Mustang, 60-22, setting up an area final against No. 4 Midwest City, who raced past Yukon, 61-35.

No. 3 Putnam City West took down No. 6 Norman North, 56-40. That sets up an area final against Edmond Memorial, which is looking to continue its positive momentum.

"I told the girls, your athleticism is going to win you games, but that competitive spirit is what's going to win you championships," Crabaugh said. "So we just need to play for each other and have fun, and that's what I hope they do."