EDMOND — Ardmore's girls are continuing their rebound season.
The Tigers kept a lid on Northwest Classen's offense early, enough to fend off a rally by the Knights in a 54-48 win in the Class 5A west regional at Deer Creek High School.
Ardmore (11-12) will face Deer Creek at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday for the regional championship. The win earned Ardmore automatic qualification into the area tournament, somewhere the Tigers haven't been in quite some time.
"These kids are resilient, they're tough," Ardmore coach Kevin Kelly said. "They've worked their tails off. They know it starts with defense, and if we can hit some shots, we can play with anyone in the state."
Senior guard Patrice Bennett led Ardmore with 19 points, Tee Taylor added nine and Ardmore was able to hold Northwest Classen to just 15 first-half points.
"We had been sruggling from the field," Kelly said. "We were bent on being aggressive, The officials kinda let us play tonight and that played in our favor."
Ardmore shot 9 of 22 from the line, as Northwest Classen worked its way back into the game late. But with the Knights, rallying back in the fourth quarter, freshman Kerra Day took a charge to steal back some momentum with less than two minutes remaining.
Northwest Classen's leading scorer fouled out on the play.
"Their heads kinda got down after that," Kelly said of the Knights. "It doesn't matter how you win. You have to win that first game, and we'll take it.
"They've got a belief in what we're doing and they want to change things with the girls basketball program. It's a privilege for me to work with them every day."
Destinee Howell scored six points and Trelynn Cohee and Christin Russell each had five for the Tigers.