SARDINA – A 17-point run starting with a three-pointer by Eastern Brown's Mary Litzinger just before the half and extending into the third quarter propelled the Eastern Brown Lady Warriors to a 70-43 sectional title in Division III Friday night over the Oak Hill Lady Oaks.

With the loss, Oak Hill is now 12-9 and has one regular-season game remaining on Monday evening against South Webster.

Eastern Brown is now 22-2 and advances to play Alexander in a district semifinal on Tuesday night.

It was the last tournament game for seniors Olivia Clarkson, Tamron McCain, Emily Doss, and Kyla Simmonds. 

Eastern Brown’s run in the third quarter erased what had been a close first half, as Oak Hill trailed 28-24 with under a minute left.

When the blitz ended at the 4:02 mark in the third, Eastern Brown had built a 45-29 advantage it was able to protect the rest of the way. The Lady Warriors led 52-31 at the end of the third and added 18 additional points in the fourth to close out the win.

Oak Hill head coach Doug Hale gave credit to the Lady Warriors and their coach for making key adjustments in the second half.

“They came out and played well. I thought our kids handled it well, early,” said Hale. “I thought in the second half, Coach (Kevin) Pickerel changed his defense up, keeping us out of rhythm and allowed them some easy run-outs. It just took it out of us.

“They refocused and got good shots. Their lead was too big. Eastern Brown has got a great team and they play great defense.”

As the game started, The Lady Oaks were ready to play and only trailed by one at the end of the first quarter. Olivia Clarkson had the hot hand in the first quarter. She scored 12 of her 20 points during the quarter. Her three-pointer at the 2:10 mark tied the game at 9-9 and a basket by Baylee Howell gave Oak Hill a 15-13 lead with 22 seconds left.

However, Emma Brown closed out the quarter with a three-pointer to give Eastern Brown a one-point lead.

 Hale spoke of the effort Clarkson gave and what the four-year starter has meant to the program.

“She's been a special player and you just couldn't ask for a better kid,” said Hale. “The kids look up to her and the staff looks up to her. Olivia is just that kind of kid. We are going to miss her.” 

The Lady Oaks took a 17-16 lead on a three-pointer by Baylee Howell early in the third quarter.

But Eastern Brown responded with a 10-5 lead, as Howell hit another three-pointer for the Lady Oaks, while Clarkson scored to make it 26-22. That is as close to the lead as Oak Hill would get the rest of the way.

Chloe Chambers chipped in nine points and nine rebounds for the Lady Oaks.

Rylee Leonard who led all players with a game-high 25 points paced the Lady Warriors. She also helped engineer the second-half drive for Eastern Brown.

Rylee (Leonard) is a special player, but they (Eastern Brown) also has plenty of good players to go around,” Hale said. “We wish them well but we do wish the outcome would have been different.”

Eastern Brown also 13 points from Mackenzie Gloff, while Emma Prine added 10, and Isabelle Barber had eight.

Eastern Brown was 29 of 68 (42.6 percent) from the field including a 4 of 13 (30.7 percent) performance from beyond the three-point arc. The Lady Warriors also sank 15 of 17 (88.2 percent) foul shots. Oak Hill made 23 of 61 (37.8 percent) shots from the field and was 8-for-16 (50 percent) at the foul line.

Coach Hale also commented the players gave a superb effort despite being outnumbered. 

“Every time there's a deadball, they were running two or three players in and that wears on you,” said Hale. “Their kids were staying fresh. Give our kids credit, they battled and played hard the entire game and Eastern Brown just has a quality team.”