The Lady Warrior senior sharp-shooter buried her first three attempts from 3-point range in the opening quarter en route to a 12-0 lead after one, then put the home team and No. 1 seed up 24-4 by intermission, knocking down 5-of-7 attempts from downtown in all during the opening 16 minutes to give her squad a comfortable cushion entering the second half.
“I love nights like that. You just sit there and watch,” noted OMA coach Terrell Barkley. “She’s one of the better shooters I’ve coached and when she’s on, she’s on. And when she’s on, it helps everybody else. Because now they’re focused on her and other people get involved, too.”
Fuller, who scored her 1,000th career point last month, led Oak Mountain with 20 points, while Meredith Sammon got the hot hand in the second half, scoring nine of her 11 points after the break to go along with a team-high eight rebounds. Jordan Francis and Audrey Douglas both chipped in six points apiece.
Heirway Christian wouldn’t get its first field goal of the game until the 2:36 mark of the second quarter and recorded just two buckets on the night against 29 turnovers.
Of course, it will be a much tougher task tonight when the Lady Warriors (22-4) — ranked No. 2 in Class A — face second-seeded Dawson Street, which beat Lafayette Christian, 64-55, in the other semifinal on Thursday. Tonight’s championship bout is slated for 7 p.m. at Oak Mountain.
The Lady Wildcats are led by one of the most prolific scorers in the state in point guard Tiana Gray, who has recorded a couple of 50-plus point games this year.
“That’s what I just told the girls. No. 1 for Dawson Street [Tiana Gray], she had 40-plus against Lafayette and I told them we’ve got to come ready to play,” Barkley said. “That kind of player, you’re not going to stop her, but you’ve got to slow her down. I think we’re going to be ready. We’ve played them two times this year, and we’ll play whatever kind of defense we’ve got to play to slow her down.”
Oak Mountain beat Dawson Street in both regular-season contests this season, but Barkley said tonight’s showdown is the one that really matters now.
“We’re one step away. We’re trying to get another region championship and set us in a good path going into the state tournament,” Barkley said. “If we keep playing the way we are, I think we’ll be all right.”