Suddenly, things are clicking for the Miami Lady Wardogs.
For the first time since the 2007-08 season, MHS won two in a row Friday night when it coasted to a 51-29 semifinal victory over the Roland JV in the Northeastern A&M High School Basketball Tournament.
"You just need one little thing to click," Miami coach Brian Busby said. "That’s all you need. It’s a domino effect. Just like on the other side of it, when things are going bad, they really go bad. When things are going good, they go really good."
The win moved the Lady Wardogs into the finals of the Girls’ Gold bracket.
That’s their first appearance in an NEO final since 2005, when they lost to Springfield (Mo.) Hillcrest in the Girls’ Blue championship for the second straight year.
The Lady Wardogs’ last NEO title came in 1996, when they beat Tulsa Rogers 49-40, also in the Girls’ Blue division.
They played Wyandotte in Saturday’s final. The Lady Bears advanced with a 50-27 win over Tulsa Lincoln Christian.
"The girls are fired up," Busby said. "I am right along there with them. They need it. They need to enjoy it."
The back-to-back wins were the first for Miami since the 2007-08 season when the Lady Wardogs started the season 3-0 before faltering.
Miami had led 9-4 in the first quarter but fell behind 17-9 in the second when Roland ran off 13 straight points.
The tide turned back Miami’s way thanks to a 3-point goal by Nikki Mullin. The Lady Wardogs held a 9-2 edge over the final 4:09 of the half to forge a 19-19 tie.
An 18-6 explosion by MHS created a 37-25 lead going into the fourth quarter, when Miami held a 14-4 advantage.
"The thing I was more proud of than anything tonight was we came out a little flat and kinda got down on ourselves, but we came out in the second half and played well," Busby said. "Four weeks ago, that would have been us trying to crawl back in."
The Lady Wardogs helped themselves in the second half by slashing their turnovers from 18 in the first half to two over the final two frames.
The Lady Wardogs played solid man defense in the first quarter, but let off the clutch in the second.
"We had lulls," Busby said. "We’ve got to learn to play four quarters. Tonight, we played for about 2 1/2 quarters."
Three players scored in double figures for the Lady Wardogs.
Nikki Mullin and Courtnei Young had 12 each while Bekah Stewart added 11.
Jalen Benton scored eight points and Summer Teehee netted seven for the Lady Rangers.
"You don’t understand the real meaning of winning until you start winning," Busby said.