By JASON EPP
Friday night saw the end of Forgan's season-long domination of Class A and B opponents, as No.1 Cyril defeated the Lady Bulldogs 43-26 in the Class B semifinals at State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City.
Forgan finished the season 26-3 with losses to 4A Guymon, and 3A Southwestern Heights, and Cyril. Two of those teams have very good chances of finishing as state champions.
Cyril was making their third straight appearance at the state tournament and boasted a starting lineup with four players five foot ten and taller. Cyril had outscored their six playoff opponents by an average score of 57-26, and had not allowed more than 31 points in any game.
Their defense proved to be a huge difference with Forgan only able to reach double digits in the first quarter, and was held to 24 percent shooting for the game.
"They were a very physical team," said Lady Bulldogs coach Brett Trippet. Their physical style really took us out of our game."
Shelbie Laughlin led the Lady Cougars offensive attack with18 total points, ten of which came in the first quarter. Laughlin hit back-to-back threes, and scored on four consecutive possessions to get the Cyril offensive going early.
Jaci McGill helped keep Forgan in the game early with two three's of her own to score the Lady Bulldogs first six points.
Kenzi Taylor was able to give Forgan a scoring presence inside shooting 7 of 14 from the field for a team high 14 points.
Both teams struggled offensively in the second quarter as the two teams combined for only seven points as Cyril took a 21-12 lead to the halftime locker room.
Cyril continued to build on their lead to 15 in the third, and Forgan struggled to score from the field. Taylor's put back with less than two minutes left in the third was the Lady Bulldogs first field goal in over 12 minutes of gametime.
McGill tried to rally the Forgan troops by draining a buzzer-beater from 30 feet out to end the third and cut the Cyril lead back to 10 heading to the fourth.
But Forgan was never able to get the lead to single digits, and Cyril made 13 of 16 free throws in the fourth quarter to shut the door.
Even though the loss stung, the Lady Bulldogs had made a deep run, deeper than most expected at the beginning of the season.
"I thought we could be a good team," said Trippet. "Did I think we were a state semifinalist at the beginning of the year - probably not. But this bunch came together as a team, and worked so hard to get better every day. I could not be prouder."