Oakton High School's girls scored 15 straight points midway through the third quarter to break open a close game and beat South Lakes, 61-42, in the final of the first Oakton Girls Christmas basketball tournament last night.

The Cougars (5-2) watched South Lakes (3-3) cut a six-point halftime lead to 29-27 just two minutes into the second half. But the hosts held the Seahawks scoreless the next 5:30 while taking a 44-27 lead.

Oakton coasted the rest of the way, making most of its 18 free throws down the stretch. Sophomore center Carrie McKee led the Cougars with 18 points and seven rebounds. She had five points during the 15-0 run, including a three-point play that sent South Lakes standout Terri Bradley to the bench with four fouls.

Bradley, averaging 15 points coming into the game, was frustrated by a variation of the box-and-one defense. She made two of 10 shots and finished with nine points.

"We focused on Terri Bradley because we felt if we could stop her we could take care of the rest of them," Oakton Coach Tina Skidmore said. "We played a full-court denial man-to-man on her and a sagging man-to-man on the other four."

South Lakes Coach Jill English felt Bradley forced some shots and passed up too many good ones. "She had the shots but passed them up. But we were inconsistent like we've been all season, and they controlled the tempo well."

The Seahawks shot 16 of 57, 28 percent. They forced 12 turnovers in the second half, but a one-for-nine start from the field in the second half hurt.

The Cougars shot much better. They made five straight field goals during the decisive 15-0 spurt, including three straight by Mary Miller (eight points).

Junior Marcie McClain (seven points, six rebounds) was named the tournament's most valuable player. She led Oakton with 11 points in its first-round victory over Fairfax. She will transfer back to Arkansas next semester.

The teams totaled five points in the first four minutes. McKee, a substitute, made a turnaround jumper for Oakton 6:15 into the game. South Lakes guard Lisa Fischer answered to cut Oakton's lead to 5-4.

The Cougars countered with six straight points, the last two on Christina Paige's jumper, for an 11-4 lead. South Lakes twice got within a basket, but Oakton, getting nine points and five rebounds from McKee, led at the half, 27-21.

In the consolation game, Courtney Buchanan (10 points) led a third quarter surge with two three-point field goals that helped Fairfax beat Herndon, 48-38.