TULSA - The Claremore Christian Warriors fell to the Liberty Academy Eagles (Shawnee) 51-35 in the Heartland Christian Athletic Association Class 1A girls championship game Saturday afternoon at Wright Christian Academy.
The Lady Warriors finished 16-2, the most wins for a varsity girls team in several years according to head coach Katie Schulze.
Freshman Hannah Schulze, daughter of the head coach, had a team-high 17 points. Junior Brooklyn Woods and sophomore Kaylee Blair also had solid efforts.
Woods scored eight points while Blair finished with six. They each grabbed 12 rebounds too. Bria Pelate fueled the Lady Eagles with a game-high 32 points.
"We knew (Pelate) was going to be hard to defend from the beginning," said coach Schulze. "I think we did a good job overall, but she was just too much in the end. She is a phenomenal player and the best we played against all year."
Claremore Christian's last lead came at 6-4 midway through the first quarter. Liberty scored the final six points of the first and then stretched the advantage to 26-11 at the half.
The Lady Warriors tried to battle back thanks to Blair scoring all of her points in the third period. However, they still trailed 35-26 at the end of the frame.
The Lady Eagles got the first four points of the fourth quarter. Woods eventually cut the deficit to 41-32 with 5:00 left but that's as close as Claremore Christian got.
"We just couldn't get shots to fall," said coach Schulze. "There were several that bounced in and out. I also would have liked to see us be a little more aggressive on the inside and challenge their posts more."
The future looks bright for the Lady Warriors. They only lose two seniors in Piper Govi and Morgan McClanahan, who was injured and unable to play in the postseason.
"It was a great season," said coach Schulze. "These girls grew and accomplished so much. The future is bright with all five starters returning. We are excited about what next year holds for this team."