Before Claremore senior guard Anna McGuire could board a plane to Colorado Thursday morning, she had to make sure the Lady Zebras won their opener in the 44th Annual Port City Tournament.
McGuire, who left for a college recruiting trip to Colorado Christian immediately after the game, knocked down five three-pointers and scored 17 points to lead the Class 6A No. 20 Lady Zebras past Cascia Hall, 61-42.
The win over Cascia Hall advanced the Lady Zebras to the semifinals at 4 p.m. today against the winner of the Catoosa-Victory Christian.
The Lady Zebras entered their contest Thursday needing a sense of urgency following a 38-35 loss to Skiatook earlier in the week.
That spark came from McGuire, who put the Lady Zebras on her shoulders for the first 16 minutes.
McGuire’s ability to work the perimeter, especially from the right elbow, led to nine of the Lady Zebras’ 13 points in the first quarter.
Three long-range bombs from McGuire, and a pair of buckets in the paint from Lauren Chancellor and Brylee Brasher put the Lady Zebras ahead 13-12.
Claremore’s feisty defense — highlighted by the back-court pressure of Brasher and Kaleigh Cox — intensified the offense and helped the Lady Zebras outscore Cascia Hall, 17-11 in the second quarter.
McGuire continued her hot streak from behind the arc with a pair of treys that put the Lady Zebras up 25-16 with 2:13 remaining in the first half.
Cascia Hall’s Savvy Hart trimmed the deficit to 27-21 with a 10-foot jumper at the 1:34 mark.
Moments later, a three-pointer from Claremore freshman guard Skylar Muncy carried the Lady Zebras into halftime with a 30-23 lead.
McGuire, Cox and Chancellor combined for 25 of Claremore’s 30 points in the first half.
After a flawless shooting performance by McGuire in the first 16 minutes, Cascia Hall found a way to shutout the Lady Zebras’ top scorer; thus allowing Chancellor and Cox to take over.
Chancellor scored 12 of her 16 points in the final two quarters, while Cox responded with nine of her 13 in the second half.
Cox’s jumper and penetrating layup increased the Lady Zebras’ lead to 36-25 with 5:05 left in the third quarter.
Shortly thereafter, Cox’s pesky defense fueled a six-point swing for Claremore, allowing Allison Howell and Chancellor to score in transition and increase the margin to 42-31.
Bailey Steckline and Chancellor opened the fourth quarter with back-to-back buckets in the paint, and Cox knocked down a baseline jumper to push the Lady Zebras’ lead to 51-34.
Along with McGuire, Chancellor and Cox, Brasher contributed with six points and Howell had four. Muncy also finished with three points and Steckline had two.