Throughout Texoma Christian’s decade of dominance, the Lady Eagles have controlled the paint. The lineage of post players key to the run of success has been an impressive one.

Throughout Texoma Christian’s decade of dominance, the Lady Eagles have controlled the paint. The lineage of post players key to the run of success has been an impressive one.

So Dallas Lakehill’s plan to try and take the latest basket barnicle, Hannah Bentsen, out of the picture with a variety of defenses was a good one in theory. In practice it failed because the TCS guards kept nailing wide-open shots despite the Lady Warriors double and even triple-teaming a player without the ball in her hands.

"Everybody wants to stop our post players. I like that they go to a zone or a box-and-one on Hannah," Lady Eagles head coach Mark Ellison said. "If they want to dare us to shoot it, we’re going to shoot it."

Emily McCarthy made the most of her attempts, finishing with 20 points as Texoma Christian defeated Dallas Lakehill, 69-48, in a TAPPS Class 2A area round contest at TCS on Saturday afternoon.

The Lady Eagles (23-6) will face Temple Holy Trinity in the region final on Tuesday at a site to be determined with their 10th straight state tournament appearance on the line.

Early in the year it looked like Texoma Christian’s backcourt depth was going to take a hit. Senior Lillie Monk suffered a season-ending injury in the third game and the lineup projected to defend the 2A state title took a blow.

"When we lost Lillie, it took the air out of us for a little bit," Ellison said. "We had to find our identity. Those freshmen and sophomores have stepped in."

Claire Olmstead helped lead the charge off the bench in this contest, scoring all seven of her points in the second quarter when TCS took control. She was one of seven Lady Eagles with a chance to reach double-figures despite most of them getting the fourth quarter off.

Kiersten Goff finished with 11 points, Haylie Ross added 10 points, six steals and four rebounds and Bentsen, Tori Powers and Sydney Truly all scored six apiece. Bentsen also totaled seven rebounds, four assists and three steals and Powers handed out six assists.

"Second quarter, we just went off," Ellison said. "That was a great shooting quarter."

Texoma Christian had a 20-10 lead after the first quarter but wasn’t able to fully capitalize on 13 Lakehill turnovers while committing just one of their own. Late in the quarter the Lady Eagles were ahead, 13-8, of the Lady Warriors (16-9) even with eight extra possessions partly because they had missed five free throws.

The Lady Eagles made up for it with a 19-0 run in the middle of the second quarter. Holding a 30-14 advantage, Olmstead checked into the game and hit a 3-pointer followed by two more buckets.

"She’s usually the first or second off my bench," Ellison said. "To do the little things, that’s going to help her in the long run."

Goff picked off a pass near midcourt and went in for the lay-up before McCarthy scored twice underneath as part of her 12 first-half points when the Lady Eagles led 45-16 at the break. Maia Heard had 12 of Lakehill’s points at that point and finished with a game-high 21.

Texoma Christian saw its margin peak at 37 points when McCarthy hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions, the latter leading to a 60-23 margin with just over three minutes left in the third.

"Emily has been shooting the ball well from the field the last couple of weeks," Ellison said. "She was shooting it nice."

Defensively the Lady Eagles forced 29 turnovers, all but one coming in the first three quarters, to help Texoma Christian pull away.

"This is the first year we’ve really started full-court pressing," Ellison said. "The last couple of years I didn’t think we were fast enough. It seems like it’s helping us a lot."

The Lady Warriors did most of their scoring in the fourth quarter with the game well in hand. TCS scored its final point with 4:20 left for a 35-point lead before Lakehill closed on a 14-0 run. Kelly Werther had all 10 of her points in the second half while Sam Caldwell scored all eight of her points in the fourth quarter.