WARNER— Chalynn Mayes dominated the paint for the Connors State Cowgirls in Monday night's Region 2 play-in game at Melvin Self Fieldhouse.
The Muldrow native poured in 20 second-half points to lead Cowgirls coach Jamie Fisher to his seventh straight appearance in the tournament which starts later this week with a 62-57 win over Western State.
Dallas freshman Kionce Woods got the Cowgirls off to a good start with 10 first-quarter points, staking Connors (10-13) to an early seven-point lead.
But the Lady Pioneers clawed their way back, thanks to a 12-of-15 free throw performance in the first half by Brianna Cotter who led all scorers with 31 points, and Connors lead was just four at intermission.
The third quarter, which has been a bit of a problem period for the Cowgirls during the season, was their best of the night as they outscored Western 19-15 to lead 50-42. Mayes had three buckets and was 5-for-5 from the charity line in the quarter.
However, Western wasn't through as they closed the gap to 60-57 with 33.9 seconds to play. But the Connors defense held tough and Zee McCallister hit two free throws in the final 23 seconds to ice the win.
"We're a team that lacks confidence in winning and so we sometimes have these spells when things start to get away from us," said Fisher. "That has cost us some games this season but tonight we held on for the win to realize our expectations to make the regional tournament.
"It really just comes down to finding a way to win at the end of the game. Cha (Mayes) had a great second half and Zee nailed some clutch free throws at the end."
Mayes had team high scoring honors with 24 points on the night followed by Woods with 15.
The Cowgirls have advanced to the Region II Quarter-Finals on Thursday afternoon as they take on top seed Seminole State College Belles at 3:00 pm. The tournament will be held in the Stride Bank Center in downtown Enid, Oklahoma.
Thursday April 8th
1:00 pm #4 NEO A&M vs. #5 NOC Enid
3:00 pm #1 Seminole State vs. #8 Connors State
6:00 pm #3 Redlands CC vs. #6 Murray State
8:00 pm #2 Eastern Oklahoma vs. #7 NOC Tonkawa
Friday April 9th
6:00 pm Semin-Final #1
NEO/Enid winner vs. Seminole/Connors winner
8:00 pm Semi-Final #2
Redlands/Murray winner vs. Eastern/Tonkawa winner
Saturday April 10th
4:00 Championship Game