“Obviously, with the circumstances earlier in the day, you just never know how the kids are going to respond,” Comer said. “But when you have senior leaders like Lela [Crawford] and Kacie, they’ve always got each other’s back and Lela was phenomenal early on and really kind of calmed that emotional storm we came into the game with.”
Crawford netted seven of her game-high 22 points over the first eight minutes as Tipton built a 17-9 lead at the first stop.
At the start of the second half, after Macie Lively put the Devils up 21 at 36-15, Eastern strung together an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to 36-23 two minutes into the frame, but again it was Crawford who kept the Comets at bay, scoring seven points during a 12-0 Tipton run to close out the quarter and make it 48-23 heading into the fourth.
Lively finished with 16 points and seven rebounds for the Devils, while Juday scored 12 points and added seven boards as well.
“Macie played probably as tough as I’ve ever seen her play,” Comer said. “To come away with seven rebounds from the guard spot against a team that is big and strong like Eastern … that says a lot. And Kacie, I don’t know if there’s another player in the state who can have the kind of situation and afternoon she did and still come out and perform that way.”
Abby Oyler and Emily Richards each scored six points for Eastern. Taylor Holliday led the Comets with eight boards as Coomer closed out his first season at the helm.
“I’m still learning,” Coomer said. “We were in a lot of games and then we weren’t able to close them out this year. We had a pretty good season compared to what our record shows. I’m proud of how the girls battled.”