AFTON - Ronnie Maple wanted to see if his Afton Lady Eagles could play through an early case of the blahs during Tuesday night's game against Colcord.
They did, with gusto.
The Lady Eagles overcame a 6-1 deficit in the opening minutes with a 21-2 explosion that sent them on their way to a 72-44 victory in the Afton Coca-Cola Classic.
“I never called time out because I wanted them to play through situations like that,” Maple said. “They need to be able to figure it out on their own. It will help on down the line.”
The win moves Afton into a 7 p.m. Thursday semifinal clash with Lucky 7 Conference rival Quapaw. The Lady Wildcats eked out a 31-30 victory over Oklahoma Union.
Afton's boys also advanced with a 63-38 win over Quapaw.
Tuesday's other first-round game saw Colcord's boys trip Oklahoma Union 68-57.
Thursday's schedule includes Ketchum vs. Kansas girls, 4 p.m.; Kansas vs. Preston boys, 5:30 p.m.; Afton vs. Quapaw girls, 7 p.m., and Afton vs. Colcord boys, 8:30 p.m.
The Lady Eagles led 17-8 after the first quarter then rolled into the half with a 43-14 advantage.
Afton's lead eventually reached 40 points (58-18) when Shelby Van Pielt drilled a 3-point goal at the 46.8-second mark of the third quarter.
Colcord took advantage of wholesale substitution by the Lady Eagles to generate 24 points over the final eight minutes of the game.
“When we put the subs in, they've got to maintain,” Maple said. “Those freshman girls have to understand that when they get in there, they've got to maintain, play hard and keep the lead. Giving up 24 points in the fourth is just a lack of concentration.”
Natasha Larsen and Macy Gibson combined for 48 of the Lady Eagles' 70 points.
Larsen was benched briefly in the first quarter then came back to score 17 points in only about 9 minutes of the half. She finished with 25.
Gibson got 12 of her 23 points in the third quarter.
“Macy played one of her best games,” Maple said. “It's been what I've been waiting on all year. She proved tonight that what she worked on all summer is going to help us. I benched Natasha about two minutes into game and had a little chew session. She went back into the game and played like she's supposed to.
“If those two give us that every night, we're going to be in a lot of ballgames.”
Tinelle Williams had 15 points for Colcord.
Afton boys 63, Quapaw 38
The Eagles broke out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back.
Afton was up 13-7 at the turn, then rolled into the break with a 30-15 advantage.
The Eagles continued to pull away in the third quarter thanks to a 19-9 run. Each team scored 14 points in the final stanza.
Ryan Markes had a season-high 26 points for Afton, which also picked up 12 from Coy Crane, 11 from Tony Jarvis and 10 from Shawn Free.
Chris Fleming had 10 points to lead the way for the Wildcats.
Quapaw girls 31, Oklahoma Union 30
A 12-5 edge in the third quarter helped carry the Lady Wildcats.
Oklahoma Union led 6-5 after the first quarter and was up 16-14 at the break.
The Lady Cougars created the final margin with a 7-5 edge over the last eight minutes.
Kallie Brumback netted 10 points to lead the Quapaw scoring. Amber Burkybile and Kaitlyn Brumley added eight each.
Kelcie Wheat and Keeley Gibson scored seven each for Oklahoma Union.
Colcord boys 68, Oklahoma Union 57
The Hornets jumped out to a seven-point lead in the first quarter and continued to pad to the margin.
They were up 34-23 at intermission and 52-43 entering the fourth period.
Brandon Ellis tallied 21 points to lead Colcord.
Dakota Gunn and Ross Allison had 15 and 12 points, respectively, for the Coogs.