Keys advanced to the semifinal round of the Warner Eagles Cherokee Classic and improved their record to 6-3 with a win over Liberty on Thursday afternoon.

The Lady Cougars bounced back after a slow first quarter and pounced on the Lady Tigers on their way to a 53-39 win.

Neither team could effectively score to start the game, but the Lady Cougars held a 9-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Emma McCurtain, playing in her third game of the season, gave the Lady Cougars momentum coming off the bench. McCurtain scored 7 of the team's 15 points and bolstered the team's defense. The team extended their lead to 24-14 before halftime.

"In the first quarter we were settling for more set shots," said head coach Jami Springwater. "We made our adjustments within the second quarter. The girls did a very good job of driving and kicking out, finding the next open girl. Our biggest game-changer was Emma."

The Lady Cougars further extended their lead in the third quarter and played more aggressively earning a 40-25 lead over the Lady Tigers.

"We got some steal on our press that allowed us to get some fast break layups and that's what helped up push away in the third quarter," said Springwater.

Keys maintained their lead in the final quarter to advance in the tournament.

Kylie Eubanks led the team with 16 points to go along with her two assists, four steals, six rebounds and a block. McCurtain had 13 points, two blocks, eight rebounds, two steals and an assist. Ashlynn Berry had six points, six rebounds, five assists, four steals and a block.

Keys will face the 5-2, 2A No. 19 Warner in the second round of the Warner Eagles Cherokee Classic. They will tip-off Friday at 7 p.m.

Cougars 43, Eagles 40

Keys defeated Morris to advance in the Warner Eagles Cherokee Classic. The 43-40 victory gives Keys a 5-5 record heading into the semifinal round of the tournament.

Scotty Wolff scored four points in the opening quarter and helped the Cougars earn an 11-5 lead over the Eagles to start the game.

However, the Eagles fought back in the second quarter and took a 21-20 lead after they sunk a buzzer-beater.

"We struggled early getting the ball to go in the basket," said head coach Greg Barnes. "Our movement was good and we were beating them to the basket, we just missed a lot of shots in the first half."

Logan Yanez led the team in the third quarter to reclaim the 31-30 lead going into the final quarter. Wolff and Yanez combined for nine of the team's 12 points in the final quarter to seal the win.

"In the second half we started making a few more shots," said Barnes. "Our defense was solid the whole time and gave us a chance to win it."

Seven players scored for the Cougars. Wolff led the team with 11 points and Yanez scored 10 points.

Keys will face Eufaula in the second round of the tournament with a 5:30 p.m. Friday tip-off.

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