Special to The Sun
MIDWEST CITY —
The Deer Creek Antlers basketball teams gained a split with Carl Albert in a fierce, defensive doubleheader Friday night in which all four teams were ranked in the top 10 of the state’s Class 5A rankings.
The defending state champion and fourth-ranked Lady Antlers traveled to the free-throw line to defeat the No. 3 Lady Titans, 31-23 — scoring 11 points in the final quarter — while the Antlers were nipped at the buzzer in a 34-33 loss at Carl Albert High School.
So intense was the defense in the girls contest that Deer Creek went into the final quarter with a 20-15 advantage and neither team had reached double digits in any quarter. But junior playmaker Shae Scheffler delivered six clutch free throws down the stretch to provide enough cushion to improve the Lady Antlers to 15-5 for the season.
Jordan Gilbert’s basket midway through the final period pulled the Lady Titans to within 25-23, but Dakota Vann and Whitney Jones combined for a pair of key defensive stops and Carl Albert did not score again.
Meanwhile Scheffler and Bayli Blanchard scored eight points each while Vann and Jones each had five, Abbey Renner added four and Elayna Wilson had a clutch free throw in the final stanza.
Lady Antler coach Totsy Manning was pleased with her defense against the explosive Titans and also the way they finished. “We knew if we could get to the fourth quarter with any kind of lead, we could control the ball and make them foul. We are normally a good free-throw shooting team and our girls handle pressure very well.
“These ladies have continued to improve this year, especially on defense and a surprising number of rebounds. It is a big win for us,” she said.
CARL ALBERT 34, DEER CREEK 33 (BOYS)
The Antlers lost a heartbreaker after holding Carl Albert to just 10 points in the first half and only 13 midway through the third period while enjoying a 28-13 advantage.
But the No. 3-ranked Titans rallied to outscore the Antlers, ranked seventh in 5A, by a 21-5 count to pull off the victory.
Carl Albert’s turnaround was keyed by a full-court press in the third period and the emergence of their scoring ace Cameron Warren. The Antlers had held Warren, who is averaging 18.5 per game, to just four points to midway through the third quarter, but he came up with eight clutch points to take game honors with 12.
The Titans also got a big boost from 6-6 junior Hayden Howell, who returned to action after nursing an ankle sprain the past three weeks. He had six points including a slam dunk on a follow shot for what proved to be the margin of victory.
Elyjah Clark paced the Antlers with nine points and Conner Avants added eight. Brett Valentine had seven in the defensive struggle while Tyler Haddock had six and Josh Stokesberry rounded out the scoring chart with three points.
Both teams resume Suburban Conference play with a Tuesday home date with El Reno followed by a Friday visit to Piedmont.