ALEXANDRIA — It took less than two minutes for Dominican to see what it was up against on Thursday.
McKinley drained three 3-pointers in the first 90 seconds and never looked back, handing Dominican a 61-33 defeat in the Division I semifinals of the LHSAA girls basketball tournament at Rapides Coliseum.
No. 3 Dominican, which finished 24-8, lost in the semifinals for a second straight season.
Last season, Dominican lost to Curtis, which went on to win the title.
No. 2 McKinley advances to Saturday's 4 p.m. championship game to play top-seed Curtis in a title-game rematch from a season ago.
McKinley handed Curtis its only loss this season.
Dominican coach Ryan Reuter has faced both teams this season, losing to Curtis twice during the regular season.
"It's different styles," Reuter said when asked about Saturday's championship. "I thought anybody would have a tough time beating Curtis. But after the way McKinley played today, it's going to be an interesting game. If they play like that, they can beat them again."
Alexius Horne scored a game-high 19 points, making 5 of 7 3-pointers along the way to lead balanced attack for McKinley (30-3). She made three of those 3-pointers in the first 90 seconds to help her team race out to an 11-0 lead.
McKinley made 10 of 22 3-pointers.
"I don't think we have given up more than six 3-pointers in a game all year," Reuter said. "To give up 10 is tough to deal with. It's a credit to them. We knew they had two or three really good players, but in the games we saw, I’ve never seen them shoot that well. If they’re shooting like that, anybody is going to have a hard time beating them.”
Horne scored 14 of her points in the first half and the Panthers built a commanding 40-16 lead. “Our girls did an excellent job,” interim McKinley coach Bridget Bowman said. “We came into the game with a mindset to go back to the championship game and do what we didn’t do last year. Our girls executed well in the first quarter and the first half. We came out a little flat in the third quarter but finished strong in the fourth quarter.”
Caira Wren added 13 points and Erica Lafayette had 11 for McKinley.
Dominican cut into the McKinley lead slightly by outscoring the Panthers 11-7 in the third quarter. But McKinley closed it out by outscoring Dominican 14-6 in the fourth.
Freshman Emily Adams scored eight points to lead Dominican. Eighth-graders Kate Baker and Sydney Sherman scored seven points each. Freshman Grace Hamblin chipped in six points and junior Ahjah Yunusah scored five for Dominican, which loses just one senior (Mackie Smith).
"We wanted it for Mackie since it's her last year," Adams said. " We have four eighth-graders, and they helped us get back here this year. We are going to work to come back here every year."