It was a gritty, rasping ball game.
It took blood, sweat and tears for the Class 5A defending state champion Deer Creek Lady Antlers to rip away a semifinal victory over top-seeded Millwood in the Bethany Classic Friday afternoon.
The Lady Falcons used physical play to garner a 20-17 halftime advantage, but the resolute endurance of Deer Creek boosted the Lady Antlers to kick off the latter half on an 8-0 run en route to a convincing 44-31 triumph. The Antlers will tip off Saturday at 7 p.m. in a battle for the top hardware at Bethany High School.
“I told our players (at intermission) we got to step up and play gritty,” Deer Creek head coach Totsy Manning said following the victory. “We’re not going to get beat by a team like this.
“We had three people significantly covered in blood out there and several scratches on faces.”
On the initial possession of the second half, Antler Whitney Jones canned a 3-pointer from the right corner and Deer Creek never trailed again.
Teammate Dakota Vann ensued with a coast-to-coast score, then a free throw by Jones and a turnaround in the lane by Bayli Blanchard capped off the 8-0 start for a 25-20 lead. Jones led all scorers with 17 points, including nine in the opening half with the bulk of it coming on 7-of-8 free throws. For the game, the Lady Antlers shot 18-for-31 from the charity stripe.
“That’s as good of an offensive game as she’s (Jones) played in a long time,” lauded Deer Creek assistant Jonathan Keathly.
Perhaps the best play of the game came via Jones, who took the ball right of the key, dribbled left across the lane through the defense for a strong-willed drive to the glass with a left-handed layup. Jones is right-handed.
“All of that (offense, from Jones & Co.) came from our defense,” Manning said. “I’m super-proud of our kids. Nobody plays as physical as that (Millwood) and gets away with it.
“I’m so proud of them. They were passionate, sportsmanlike and played through it.”
In the third, the Falcons were throwing up wild shots but Deer Creek refused to give up second chances. In the frame, the Lady Antlers forced Millwood into 1-for-14 shooting from the floor.
The final quarter started out well again for Deer Creek, as Vann tallied a hasty bucket and Jones put forth the big left-handed, across-the-lane drive to the goal for a 34-23 cushion.
Shae Scheffler gave the Antlers their largest lead of the game with a pair of free throws with under a minute left to put Deer Creek up by 15 points. Scheffler ensued Jones with nine points and Vann added six.
After Saturday’s title match, Deer Creek will travel to Chickasha.
In Thursday’s opener, the Lady Antlers upended the host Bethany Lady Bronchos 50-45 using a 17-8 second quarter to get on top. Vann led the way with 15 points and Jones chipped in a dozen.
Antlers top Shawnee at home
Lively performances propelled Deer Creek to a 59-51 triumph at home versus Shawnee Tuesday night.
The Antlers led throughout the contest and fended off the Wolves to hang on for the win.
“It was a team effort on defense,” Deer Creek skipper Matt Bailey said after the victory. “We got stops late in the game and made our free throws down the stretch to hold onto the lead.”
On the glass, Antler Caleb Eldridge sucked down a game-high 15 rebounds and shooting-wise junior teammate Will O’Hara fired from long range, knocking down a sizzling 5-of-6 3-pointers for a career-high 15 points.
Deer Creek senior Tyler Haddock led all scorers with 16 points and sophomore guard Elyjah Clark contributed 11.
In the opener, Shawnee jumped out on top early and the Lady Antlers just never got over the hump.
In a frigid-shooting night for both teams in Deer Creek’s new gymnasium, the Lady Wolfpack won a 30-23 contest.
With just two minutes to play in regulation, Vann dropped in a free throw to get within three points, but Deer Creek shot just 6-for-13 from the line and 8-for-34 from the floor and was unable to overtake Shawnee offensively.
The Wolves were not hot by any means, making just 10-of-38 field goals but were 11-for-12 from the charity stripe.
McKenzie Cooper led Shawnee, nailing six free shots to end the game for a seven-point Lady Wolf win. She finished with a game-high 17 points as Shawnee now stands at 6-0.
Deer Creek was led by Vann’s double-double on 11 boards and 13 points. Jones added six points, Emily Gillis three and Abbey Renner one.
Deer Creek girls claw back in latter half for win
It was a gritty, rasping ball game.
Deer Creek loses nail-biter; Memorial boys fall to Tulsa Union
The Deer Creek Antlers were just seconds away from entering the Class 5A state tournament, but Del City’s Brett Cannon scored on a reverse layup on a back-door move with one second left to down Deer Creek 47-45 in overtime in an area championship contest at Catoosa High School.
“We’re playing really well,” Antler skipper Matt Bailey said following the nail-biter. “They got us with the last shot in overtime.”
Deer Creek will face the winner of the McAlester/Durant game Saturday at 6:30 at Sapulpa High School in the area consolation title game with a trip to the big dance on the line.
After impressive road series, OC’s Coats receives NCCAA pitching honor
Oklahoma Christian’s Shea Coats was honored Tuesday as the National Christian College Athletic Association’s softball pitching student-athlete of the week.
Coats, a freshman from Tuttle, was honored for her performance as the Lady Eagles won two of three games last weekend at Texas-Permian Basin. Coats threw a complete-game 1-hitter to lead Oklahoma Christian to a 3-0 win in the series opener, then threw two perfect innings in relief to earn the save as the Lady Eagles took the series finale 6-2.
In her nine innings of work, Coats struck out 11 batters while walking four. She currently ranks fifth in the Heartland Conference in strikeouts with 46, in 43 innings of work.
She is the first OC softball player to win a NCCAA weekly award this season.
Broncho Gibbs stacks up honors
Central Oklahoma’s Josh Gibbs was a repeat first-team selection on the All-Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Team that was released by the league office Tuesday.
The 6-5 senior forward is averaging 20.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.2 steals a game .
Gibbs, who leads the league in rebounds and ranks third in scoring, has had 17 double-doubles this season. He’s also second in the MIAA in 3-pointers per game with 2.4, having made 66 treys while shooting 38.8 percent from beyond the arc.
SLIDESHOW: Lady Wolves win Area basketball title
The Edmond Santa Fe Lady Wolves won the Area basketball title with a win over Norman North at Choctaw Thursday evening.
Santa Fe thwarts Norman North offense
The Edmond Santa Fe Lady Wolves added another plaque to their collection and took one more step toward a gold ball Thursday night.
Edmond took down a feisty Norman North squad 64-47 at Choctaw High School to win the Class 6A west area tournament and advance to the state tournament that begins March 13.
“We’re going to enjoy that for tomorrow and now we’ve got to go find who we play on Saturday and we’re going to focus,” said Paul Bass, Santa Fe head coach. “It’s one game at a time. We’re 24-1, but that really doesn’t matter because now we’re in the third tournament of the year for us. This is the one that’s most important — get to state and try to get that gold ball.”
Defensive battle falls in favor of Deer Creek
A pair of defensive teams coming out on each other, both 20-5 Deer Creek and 20-5 Collinsville played to a 20-19 score after three periods with the Lady Antlers on top Thursday night at Owasso High School in a Class 5A area championship game.
The final panel wasn’t much different, as Deer Creek used two mammoth defensive plays by Dakota Vann to stave off the Cardinals 31-28 and advance to the state tournament beginning March 13.
“Last week at practice, I told the girls that the road to get back to the state tournament was that somebody was going to have to make a play,” defending state champion Deer Creek coach Totsy Manning said after the victory over Collinsville. “I told the girls to go out and make a good play.”
Vann, a 5-10 junior, did just that — twice.
Bartlesville’s 6-2 star forward Hailey Tucker averaged over 22 points a game for the Lady Bruins this year.
But not with Edmond Memorial’s Elise Wyatt on her.
Thursday night in a Class 6A area consolation contest at Sapulpa High School, Wyatt and the Lady Bulldogs ended Bartlesville’s season and stayed alive in the high school playoffs with a 48-42 triumph. Memorial will tip off with Putnam North — a team that beat the Lady ‘Dogs at the final horn in the semifinals of the Bruce Gray Invitational — at 1:30 Saturday at Catoosa High School in a do-or-die contest to make it to the state tournament.
5 memorable college hoops tourney buzzer beaters
It's March, which means the NCAA Tournament is just around the corner. But before March Madness takes hold, the conference tournaments, which get under way this week, often provide their own share of exciting finishes. Here are five memorable buzzer beaters from conference tournament play.
USA sitting volleyball hires Kraeer as UCO-based mens sitting team head coach
The University of Central Oklahoma-based U.S. mens sitting volleyball team welcomes a new head coach, Quinton Kraeer. The university is the official training site for both the mens and womens sitting volleyball teams.
Kraeer will take over the mens program after serving as an assistant for the last several months. He brings nine years of volleyball coaching experience to the team and has served as a pipeline assistant for both the mens and womens teams since 2008.
2014 Majestic Roofing High School Baseball Series coming to Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark
The Oklahoma City RedHawks have announced the schedule for the fourth annual Majestic Roofing High School Baseball Series, set to begin this week at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
The series begins with three games Saturday and will culminate Saturday, April 5 during the Mayor’s Cup, featuring a triple-header between the three high schools from Edmond and Moore.
The Majestic Roofing High School Baseball Series gives teams and their fans from around the state a chance to have a “professional” experience complete with the use of batting cages, dugouts and state-of-the-art scoreboards.
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- Deer Creek loses nail-biter; Memorial boys fall to Tulsa Union