By BEN JOHNSON
JAY — It was early, but Colcord had to be feeling pretty spry. After all, at the midway mark of the first quarter, Colcord had a lead — albeit a small lead — against Class 3A No. 4 Sequoyah.
Then Audrey Ballou caught fire and that was it.
The senior forward buried three straight 3-pointers, broke an early 8-all tie and guided Sequoyah on a 9-0 run as the Lady Indians would ultimately coast to a 58-26 victory in the semifinals of the Tri-State Classic at Bulldog Arena on Friday night.
"I'm not looking at whether we're winning big or anything. I just want the effort," Sequoyah coach Larry Callison said. "And tonight we had effort."
Sequoyah (13-1) advances to its second straight tournament championship game after winning the Shrine Classic in Muskogee earlier this month. The Lady Indians will take on Tulsa Memorial in the finals on Saturday at 7 p.m. Colcord will be in the third-place game against Kansas.
Colcord will just be happy that Ballou won't be in uniform for Kansas. After missing her first two shots of the game, Ballou connected within close range on her third attempt and then unleashed a long-range assault.
Ballou finished six-of-12 from the field and five-of-nine from beyond the 3-point arc to lead all scorers with 17 points.
"Audra is an excellent offensive player. She can shoot the basketball," said Callison, who also had Loren Young score in double digits with 10 points.
"A lot of colleges are looking at (Audrey)."
With the score knotted at 8 in the first period, Ballou broke the tie and led the Lady Indians to an 18-10 advantage at the end of the first eight minutes. Then Sequoyah overwhelmed Colcord in a 13-5 second quarter to take a 31-15 lead at halftime.
Sequoyah continued the same theme in the second half, outscoring Colcord 13-3 in the third quarter to put the game on ice. Colcord, after a three-of-seven effort from the floor in the first quarter, connected on only three of its next 23 field-goal attempts.
Paige Shelley led Colcord (11-3) with nine points.
Boys: Sequoyah 67, Kansas 50
Kansas' Logan Blaine rarely missed when he hoisted up a shot, but it wasn't nearly enough as Class 3A No. 5 Sequoyah crushed Kansas in the second half en route to reaching the championship game of the Tri-State Classic. The Indians will take on Broken Bow on Saturday night as they try to defend their title from last season.
Caisen Green led Sequoyah with 20 points, and B.J. Leach added 15 points for the Indians (11-2).
But it wasn't a cake-walk for Sequoyah until the second half.
Nursing a 15-point lead in the second quarter, the Indians let Kansas get to within 35-27 at halftime, thanks to Blaine's three straight 3-pointers before the break.
"I won't lie about it, there was a lot of yelling," Sequoyah coach Jay Herrin said of his halftime speech. "I was really disappointed in our decision-making down the stretch, especially because I kind of felt our lead dwindling away."
Sequoyah tightened up the screws on defense in the second half, limiting the Comets to only six made field goals on 21 attempts.
The Indians were a different story. Sequoyah made more than half of its shots from the field, burying 27-of-48 attempts for a 56.3 shooting percentage.
"That's better than what I thought I'd be," Herrin said of his team's shooting prowess. "With Zach (Parish) out, it leaves us a man down and it kind of messes up our rotations.
"I'm proud of the guys, because on a night when we're not quite as good as we want to be, we still win against a good team."
Blaine had 29 points for the Comets (8-6). The junior guard finished 10-of-17 from the field.
Casey Armbrister was Kansas' only other double-digit scorer with 10 points.
For Sequoyah, an unfamiliar foe in Broken Bow awaits in the title tilt.
"They're very athletic," Herrin said of Broken Bow. "They kind of like we do, with a lot of pressure defense and shoot the 3."
Girls: Sequoyah 58, Colcord 26
Col 10 5 3 8 - 26
Seq 18 13 13 14 - 58
Colcord (11-3): Shelley 9, Copeland 6, Denny 6, Haggard 3, Coulter 2.
Sequoyah (13-1): Audrey Ballou 17, Loren Young 10, C. Tiger 7, A. Tiger 5, Hummingbird 4, Wright 4, Cookson 4, Leach 2, Galvan 2, Pacheco 1, Polk 1.
Boys: Sequoyah 67, Kansas 50
Kan 10 17 9 14 - 50
Seq 21 14 16 16 - 67
Kansas (8-6): Logan Blaine 29, Casey Armbrister 10, Warren 5, Chesser 3, Wilkerson 2, T. Pruitt 1.
Sequoyah (11-2): Caisen Green 20, B.J. Leach 15, Elijah Tucker 13, Kingfisher 6, Eagle 6, Johnston 5, Wear 2.