MOORE — A lot can happen in a year, as well as 48 hours.

MOORE — A lot can happen in a year, as well as 48 hours.

On Saturday at the Moore High Arena, the No. 1 Ardmore Lady Tigers showed they are living proof of just such a scenario.

The No. 1 Lady Tigers used a dominating second half to overwhelm the No. 15 Altus Lady Bulldogs, as they punched their ticket to the Class 5A state tournament with a 57-37 victory in the area consolation championship game.

This will be Ardmore’s first trip back to state since 2017, when the Lady Tigers finished as Class 5A state runner-up. 

Ardmore will learn the time and location for its state quarterfinal matchup this week when the pairings are released by the OSSAA. 

“It feels great for the kids,” Ardmore coach Debra Manley said. “This is what we’ve been working for since June. We’ve talked about that weekend last year as well, but sometimes you have to move on and work harder.”

“I think we were just a little tense and just felt the pressure against El Reno Thursday night,” Manley added. “Now we’re all back even and we’re ready to go get this and just play basketball.”

In the first quarter, both teams played hard, but with a sense of caution.

There were multiple ties and lead changes, as Altus held an 11-9 lead at the 1:26 mark, before Ardmore stormed back to lead 12-11 with 1:01 left. 

But at the end of the first, it was all even at 14-14.

As the second quarter began though, the Lady Tigers began to build some momentum.

Ardmore regained the lead just over a minute into the quarter at 16-14, and grew its biggest lead of the first half to eight points at 28-20 with 1:06 left before halftime.

Altus managed to get three points before going to the locker room leave it a 28-23 advantage for Ardmore after two.

With the third quarter came a small rally from the Lady Bulldogs, as Altus closed to within one point at 30-29 less than three minutes into the frame.

But, the momentum quickly pivoted back the other way as Ardmore went on a 4-0 run to lead 34-29 with 4:13 left in the third.

Ardmore’s biggest lead in the third quarter was seven points at 38-31, but it was trimmed to four points going to the fourth at 38-34.

Down the stretch though, it was all Ardmore.

The Lady Tigers held Altus to just three points over the final eight minutes, while scoring 19 of their own to seal the state tournament berth.

After the game, coach Manley had plenty of praise for her team, including the performance of Tiana Cohee and her defensive efforts.

“Her (Tiana) rebounding was spectacular,” she said. “We knew Altus was going to make a rally. We put her in the game to do a job and she did it so well for us. Everyone played well together today. Sierra (Gordon) got settled in and shot the ball well, as well as Miyah (McGee). Tieronay Banks is going to get every rebound for us, and this was just a team effort. We’re coming back stronger than ever this time around.”

Sierra Gordon led the Lady Tigers with 14 points in the game followed by Reagan McCurley and Tieronay Banks with 10 points each, with Miyah McGee adding nine points. 

Amaya Gordon added four points in the game for Ardmore.

“This is an amazing feeling to be going back to state,” Sierra said. “We know what we can do as a team, and we’re ready to go for it all. We all got together and just made the decision to do everything we could to make this happen. I told myself I was either going to make this happen or go home. We deserve this moment as a team.”