The Lady Chieftains fall to El Reno in the Semifinals

Sapulpa’s Lady Chieftains faced a tough 50-59 defeat at the hands of the El Reno Indians for the second time this year in the semifinals of the state playoffs.

Sapulpa was able to tie the Indians four separate times during the first half but fell behind by 15 points in the second half, and though they rallied hard to shrink that lead, they ultimately ended the game at a 9-point deficit, ending their hopes of another golden ball.

Sapulpa’s Brooklyn Berry looks down the court at the Semifinals game against El Reno. Photo by Niko McWilliams.

At the Quarterfinals on Thursday, a 19-6 Sapulpa faced down a 19-7 Lawton MacArthur Lady Highlanders in a close 54-50 win to advance to the semifinals, but it would be where the ladies ended their 2021-2022 season.

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Earlier this week, Hall-of-fame Head Coach Darlean Calip said that the team’s success was largely because of how they respond to each other in other ways than just basketball. “They’re just so close,” she said. “Last year they had some really great leaders, and these guys have followed suit on what we did last year, how we treat each other. They have built great relationships and they have such good chemistry, and they really care about each of their teammates.”

Junior Stailee Heard said the same, adding in though she was a part of last year’s state championship team, she feel’s closer to this one. “We all get along really well, we hang out outside of basketball,” she said. “In years past, I haven’t really been as close as I have with this team.” Just two weeks ago, Stailee surpassed 1,000 points in her high school basketball career.

This year’s gold ball may be out of reach for the Lady Chieftains, but they still played a great season.