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 2nd largest in Class 5A
With the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association releasing enrollment figures, Deer Creek stands as the second-largest school in Class 5A with 1,252 students.
Lawton Eisenhower, which had been a very strong football program in 6A, is now tops in 5A with 1,281 students.
Schedules in football classification still remain the same until 2016-17. Del City will move back into 6A beginning in 2016.
The statistics will not be deemed official until pending approval at the OSSAA’s board meeting next month.
Wilson, Grissom take on more suitable roles for 2015 season
Experience comes from encountering the same things in the same ways over and over again. Oklahoma’s Geneo Grissom and Julian Wilson have that at defensive end and nickleback in bunches.
However, both will be seeing new things when practice begins. Grissom is moving to outside linebacker. Wilson will be getting a look at cornerback as his senior season begins.
The moves were made to aid OU’s defense. They could benefit both in the future.
Yurcich ready for second season
With the 2014 season on the brink, Mike Yurcich, Oklahoma State University football offensive coordinator, is ready for his second year at the helm after coaching a powerful offensive squad a year ago.
Yurcich and most of the Cowboys’ coaching staff attended the annual media golf outing Wednesday at Karsten Creek. He, along with the other assistant coaches, talked about the upcoming season.
“Every offense is going to be a little bit different from year to year, depending on the personnel,” Yurcich said. “I think you learn a little bit more about the players, because you know them for a longer time. You know a little bit more about the coaches you work with because you’re around them a little bit longer. All of those things factor into one more year of experience.
Wallar voted National Tennis Coach of the Year finalist
The National High School Athletic Coaches Association honored Dee Ann Waller, coach and teacher from Edmond North High School, as a finalist for the National High School Athletic Coaches Association National Coach of the Year in tennis.
Eight finalists from across the nation were chosen to be honored during The National Coach of the Year awards banquet that took place during the National High School Athletic Coaches Association’s national convention June 14-18, at the Snow King Resort in Jackson Hole, Wy.
McKey to compete in North American final
Edmond’s Mary McKey, who attends John Carroll Catholic School in Oklahoma City, qualified for the Hershey’s Track & Field Games North American Final after winning the Hershey’s Oklahoma State Meet June 28.
McKey, 12, had the fastest time in the region that consists of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, New Mexico and Puerto Rico. Hershey only accepts eight runners from North America.
McKey is a Catholic grade school champion and the first Catholic student to qualify for the North American final. She is also a Jim Thorpe Games 400-meter champion.
The North American final will run Aug. 2 in Hershey, Pa.
Former quarterback Bell has pedigree to dominate at tight end for Sooners
The question came quickly to Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops. Are there any plans to use Blake Bell at quarterback — in some capacity?
“That’s funny, it keeps coming up,” Stoops said Tuesday at Big 12 Media Days. “Blake was recruited definitely as a quarterback. But when you look at him now after three years, he is the pro-type at tight end. He’s got great hands, great size. He can run. Natural spacing as far as where to be in his routes.”
So, the answer is no.
Smith ready to begin the next chapter with Ravens
During his long drive to Maryland from his North Carolina home Sunday, veteran wide receiver Steve Smith had plenty of time to think about an offseason defined by a dramatic change in his life.
After 13 years with the Carolina Panthers, Smith was cut in March following one of the least productive seasons of his career. The Ravens promptly signed him to a three-year, $11 million contract.
Smith remained in a reflective mood as veterans officially reported to camp Wednesday. Smith, however, showed up Monday eager for his new start.
Local cops arrest NFL player on marijuana complaint
The Edmond Police Department has released the incident report related to the arrest of ex-Oklahoma State star and current NFL player Justin Blackmon.
Blackmon, 24, a product of Plainview High School in Ardmore, is a 6-1, 210-pound wide receiver in his second year with the Jacksonville Jaguars. At Oklahoma State University, he was a two-time Biletnikoff Award winner as the country’s best collegiate wide receiver.
Former OSU line coach having impact on Texas staff
It was quite possibly the biggest coaching coup of the offseason and Oklahoma State was at the wrong end of it — former Cowboy offensive line coach Joe Wickline joining the staff for Charlie Strong’s Texas Longhorns.
“It’s always good when you go hire staff and you look at just getting the right people within your program. And, a lot of times, guys know a lot of Xs and Os, but it’s all just about developing a player,” said Strong, Tuesday during the Big 12 Conference Football Media Days. “Joe and I, we’ve coached together at two different places. But just with him being within his conference and knowing the conference, he’s been a great asset.”
Santa Fe alum McGreevy makes U.S. Amateur
OU’s Max McGreevy, an Edmond Santa Fe graduate, and University of Tulsa’s Logan McCracken qualified for the 2014 U.S. Amateur, the United States Golf Association’s (USGA) prestigious annual event featuring the world’s finest amateur golfers. This year’s championship will be held at the venerable Atlanta Athletic Club (AAC) in Johns Creek, Aug. 9-17.
Max McGreevy, Edmond 67-65—132
Logan McCracken, Oklahoma City 69-66—135
1st Alt. Garrison Mendoza, Clinton 69-71—140
2nd Alt. Thomas Johnson, Norman 71-69—140
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