ADA — Elgin improved on at least one thing between Wednesday’s loss to Frontier and Thursday’s victory over Elk City in the Bertha Frank Teague Mid-America Basketball Tournament.

“We shot free throws better,” Elgin coach Damon Garner said after watching his club hit 23-of-28 from the charity stripe — including six straight in the final 1:18 — in a 63-56 victory that, for three and a half quarters, seemed pretty routine.

With the win, Elgin advanced to Friday’s consolation final against Byng at 4:30 p.m., while Elk City will face Marietta for seventh place in the first game of the Mid-America’s final day at 3 p.m.

Elgin scored 16 of the first 20 points in Thursday’s contst, led by as many as 15 (32-17) in the first half and was still on top, 55-46, after point guard Casi Rawls drained a 12-foot baseline jumper just over a minute into the fourth quarter.

But Elk City center Jennifer DeGarmo capped a 10-2 Elk City run — and one of week’s best individual performances — with a 3-pointer to trim the lead to 57-56 with only 1:30 to play and force the Lady Owls — who missed nine of their 20 free throws against Frontier — to win the game at the line.

Rawls, a 5-4 junior who dished out eight assists and hit all 10 of her charity shots Thursday, drained both ends of a pressure one-and-one with 1:18 left to make it 59-56, then, after Elk City’s Taylor Carpenter misfired on a layup, Abby Basler was fouled to put Elgin in the double bonus, and she also made both free throws to build the lead back to five with 44.3 seconds remaining. Jessica Pillow — who fouled out of Wednesday’s loss with only five points but came back to score 14 and grab six rebounds Thursday — rebounded another Elk City miss and was fouled, and she finally put the game away with two more free throws with just 18.8 seconds to play.

“I think we still had a hangover from Wednesday’s game,” said Garner, whose club — ranked No. 3 in Class 4A — improved to 9-1 with the victory. “I’m always happy with a win, but we played real timid on defense and let (Elk City) penetrate too much.”

Although they refused to go away, the Elkettes found themselves in an early 9-0 hole and trailed by six or more points until the final minutes of the game. But Elgin went without a field goal (0-for-6) for more than five minutes after Rawls’ jumper early in the fourth quarter, and Elk City (5-5) took advantage of the Lady Owls’ cold shooting to mount its only serious challenge of the game.

DeGarmo, a 6-2 junior who followed her 17-point effort in Elk City’s loss to Perkins-Tryon Wednesday with a 24-point, nine-rebound sparkler Thursday, hit a layup with 6:15 remaining (off one of Christina Albert’s seven assists in the game) to cut the Elgin lead to 55-48, then neither team scored again until DeGarmo nailed her first 3-pointer of the contest with 3:40 left to make to make it 55-51.

Basler was called for traveling on the Lady Owls’ next possession, and DeGarmo converted the turnover into a pair of free throws to trim the lead to two with 2:30 still to play.

Maggie Oliver, who went 7-for-10 from the field to finish with 16 points, hit a short jumper (the Lady Owls’ final field goal of the contest) in the lane with 1:42 left to extend Elgin’s advantage back to 57-53, then DeGarmo was perfect on a second 3-pointer just 12 seconds later to make it 57-56 and set up the Lady Owls’ late heroics from the free throw line.

Although DeGarmo had the second-best scoring performance of the Mid-America’s first two days, Sarah Gunnell (10 points) and Taylor Carpenter (7) were the only other Elk City players with more than four points in the game. The Elkettes played solid defense, limiting Elgin to 17 field goals in 48 attempts (35.4 percent), but the Lady Owls were 10 points better at the free throw line than Elk City (which finished 13-for-21).