Game One (Thursday):
OCA - 59
No. 14 Cashion - 73
The LadyCats liked the shots they were getting in the first half, the only problem was they weren’t dropping. Instead of pressing and trying to change the gameplan, the LadyCats stuck to the offense banking on the open shots falling eventually.
While the rest of the LadyCats searched for offense, Neeley Tilley-Bedick kept Cashion within arms distance of Oklahoma Christian Academy. The junior poured in 13 points in the opening half, knocking down three three-pointers helping the LadyCats stay within five points at the break.
Then in the third quarter, the flood gates opened.
Cashion opened the half on a 15-2 run in the first 4:30 of the third quarter, swinging the LadyCats in front 40-32. After an OCA bucket, the LadyCat offense didn’t miss a beat. Kaitin Taylor knocked down her first three of the game, followed by seven straight points by Cedar Stewart, capped off with Lauren Lamb knocking down a shot. By the time the third quarter ended, the LadyCats outscored OCA 30-11 in the frame. At one point, the run was as big as 25-4.
The burst of offense in the third quarter was the difference in the game as the two teams both scored 18 points in the final quarter. Tilley-Bedick finished with a game-high 22 points and helped advance the LadyCats to the Area Consolation Semifinals against No. 10 Stratford on Friday.
Game Two (Friday):
No. 10 Stratford - 35
No. 14 Cashion - 38
When the LadyCats drew Stratford for the second round of the Area Consolation bracket, everyone knew it would be a challenge. The Lady Bulldogs had only lost three games entering Friday. Two of those losses were to No. 1 Vanos, and the other to No. 6 Caddo. Despite being underdogs, the LadyCats proved they can play with anybody in any gym on any day.
Trailing 16-11 with 7:07 to go in the second quarter, the LadyCats were able to get timely buckets from the guards. Lauren Lamb stepped out in the right-corner, knocking down Cashion’s first three of the game. After seeing Lamb’s three go down, Kaitin Taylor and Cedar Stewart got back-to-back three-pointers to go down, giving the LadyCats a 23-19 lead at halftime.
Lamb opened the third quarter knocking down her second three-pointer of the game, putting Cashion in front 27-21 with 5:58 to go. Taylor followed that up with a three of her own on the ensuing possession to put Cashion up 30-22. That would be Cashion’s final three-pointer of the game.
Stratford closed the third and opened the fourth on a 7-0 run to give the Lady Bulldogs its first lead since the first half with 7:01 to go. Brook Shelly quickly gave the LadyCats the lead back by knocking down a mid-range jumper.
Lamb pushed Cashion’s lead to three points by knocking down a pair of free throws with 6:05 remaining. That would be Cashion’s last score for nearly six minutes.
Over the final six minutes, Stratford came from behind and took a one-point lead with 1:59 to go. Then the LadyCat defense came up big.
Cashion forced 19 turnovers on the day, but the biggest one came with 1:25 remaining.
After a missed shot, Neeley Tilley-Bedick and Kaitin Taylor jumped to the ball, trapping it in the corner. On the other side of the floor, Cedar Stewart tried to cut in front of a Lady Bulldog for the steal. The contact by Stewart on the attempt forced Stratford into a walk, giving the ball back to Cashion underneath its own basket.
On the ensuing possession, Bedick found Shelly on the block wide-open to put Cashion in front for good with 49 seconds left in the game.
Taylor knocked down a pair of clutch free throws to seal the win for the LadyCats.
With the win, Cashion now sits one win from advancing back to the state tournament for the first time since 2017 and for the fifth time in six years. To get there, they will have to go through either No. 2 Silo or No. 6 Caddo.
The LadyCats will play in the Area Consolation Finals tomorrow night at 6:30 at SWOSU in Weatherford.