FARMINGTON -- Jenna Lawrence's 4-point play doubled Farmington's lead late in the third quarter and the Lady Cardinals maintained separation while beating Morrilton, 55-47, to reach their fourth straight state finals.
Morrilton never got closer than five points the rest of the way after Lawrence was fouled on made 3-pointer, then added the free throw to push the Lady Cardinals' lead out to 38-30, with 1:24 left in the third quarter.
The Lady Cardinals had a chance to increase that but Marin Adams' bucket after making a steal was waved off when a foul was called against Cheyanne Kemp, and settled for a 38-31 lead at the close of the third.
The Lady Cardinals answered each challenge in the fourth with either a crucial defensive stand or clutch basket.
Morrilton fans protested a pair of charging calls against Kemp and Johnna Brockman in the fourth. Lady Devil Dog fans clearly thought those were questionable calls but Farmington fans thought a foul against Kaycee McCumber after she cleared a defensive rebound and Sophia Wahrmund ripped it out of her hands was equally controversial.
Zoey Bershers and Lawrence each scored in the paint and J'Myra London used a spin move to get a basket. Jennifer Hartman's 3-pointer trimmed Farmington's lead to 44-38, but London's drive created an open lane for Lawrence, who was fouled on the offensive glass and sank a pair of free throws.
K.K. Clemons drilled a three as Morrilton hung within 46-41 at the 2:05 mark of the fourth. Lawrence set up in the paint and answered at the free-throw-line. Reese Shirey dove on the floor to make a steal, which led to Marin Adams' free throws and a 10-point lead of 52-42 with just over half a minute to play.
Farmington coach Brad Johnson heralded the defensive efforts of the Lady Cardinals to keep both Morrilton stars from having a field day.
"Morrilton is an extremely quality basketball program and Cheyanne Kemp is one of the most dynamic players in the state at any level. Early on she got to the rim some on us, but as the game went on, we did a better job of contesting those drives. I thought our kids overall did a phenomenal job of making her hit difficult shots," Johnson said.
Morrilton jumped out to a 9-4 lead in the first quarter by demonstrating its ability to absorb contact and score in traffic, while Farmington couldn't seem to wrap its hands around rebounds. Morrilton got three shots on its opening possession before Wahrmund hit a baseline shot.
Kemp scored 10 first half points, beginning with a pair of free throws. She got to the front of the rim and finished in a crowd and Brockman worked her way to the hoop to cap the run.
Farmington missed three layups but held Morrilton scoreless for the next two minutes which allowed the Lady Cardinals to counter the initial Lady Devil Dog surge with a run of their own.
London sank two free throws after making a steal and attacking on the break. Lawrence made a floater in the paint and McCumber knocked down a 3-pointer off the bench to knot the score at 11-all after a Clemons' bucket for Morrilton.
Farmington contained the effectiveness of Brockman in the post for Morriton. She had three points at halftime and finished with nine.
"She's a force on the offensive glass," Johnson said. "Zoey Bershers and Kaycee McCumber both did a nice job on her. We doubled her a few times. We tried to use our size and length to limit what she could do."
Farmington 55, Morrilton 47
Farmington (34-1): Jenna Lawrence 4 8-11 17, Zoey Bershers 4 1-3 9, J'Myra London 3 3-4 9, Reese Shirey 2 3-6 8, Marin Adams 0 6-6 6, Kaycee McCumber 1 1-2 4, Hannah Moss 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 22-32 55.
Morrilton (30-5): Cheyanne Kemp 7 3-4 18, Jennifer Hartman 3 1-2 10, Johnna Brockman 3 3-8 9, Sophia Wahrmund 2 1-2 5, K.K. Clemons 2 0-0 5. Totals 17 8-16 47.
3-Point Goals -- Farmington 3 (Shirey, McCumber, Lawrence). Morrilton 5 (Hartman 3, Clemons, Kemp).