Okarche senior steps up as Lady Warriors dethrone Cashion at Three Rivers Conference
It took overtime, but Okarche was finally able to wrestle away the Three Rivers Conference Tournament championship from Cashion.
Marlo Hunt nailed two huge 3-pointers and scored eight points in the extra frame as the Lady Warriors downed Cashion 46-42 in the championship game Saturday night at the APB.
It’s the first time since 2014 that Cashion hasn’t won the conference tournament crown, a streak of fi ve straight.
“Our emphasis going in was to get the championship back in Okarche,” said head coach Kelli Jennings, whose team beat Cash-ion in a tournament final for the second time this season.
The Okarche offense was quiet for much of the first half as Cash-ion limited the Lady Warriors to 15 points. However, Okarche’s defense was nearly as good as Cashion only had a three-point halftime lead.
It’s been the defense that’s largely helped Okarche to a 13-game win streak as the Lady Warriors have clawed their way to No. 5 in the Class A rankings.
“Defense is something, as a coach, I’ve always focused on,” Jennings said. “There are going to be off nights and stretches where you struggle to score, but your defense should always be there.
“That’s how you stop good teams.”
The offense started to catch up in the third quarter.
Hunt, limited to two points in the fi rst half, nailed a pair of three pointers, Rachel Mc-Dowell another and Madison Owens scored five points in the frame as Okarche trimmed its deficit to one.
In the fourth, with the game tied, both teams had shots at go-ahead buckets, but were off the mark.
Hunt then struck in overtime as she single-handedly doubled-up Cashion’s total.
The senior scored 17 of her game-high 19 points - including all four 3-pointers - after halftime.
“It’s the first time this season she’s gotten the hot hand,” Jennings said of Hunt. “There were a couple of times last summer when she got it that you knew it was going in, but it hadn’t happened yet really for any of us in a game.
“It was a good time for it to happen.”
Owens added nine points for Okarche, which improved to 15-1 overall. Mc-Dowell scored eight and Sage Griswold scored seven.
Cashion dropped to 8-2 and had a six-game win streak snapped. The Lady Wildcats’ other loss was 41-34 to Okarche in the fi nals of the Garber tournament in December.
Neely Tilley-Bedick paced Cashion with 13 points while Issy Reeves scored nine.
Crescent wound up as the tournament’s consolation champion by defeating Watonga 33-23 for fifth place.
The Lady Tigers defeated Harding Fine Arts 48-28 in Friday’s consolation semifi nal.
Hennessey was seventh after beating Harding 60-29 in the seventh-place game Saturday.