Special to The Sun
The Deer Creek Lady Antlers captured the Bruce Gray Invitational championship with a 42-33 win over the Enid Pacers Saturday at Deer Creek.
After defeating Mustang 49-43 Friday in the semifinals, Deer Creek opened their finals matchup with a 12-2 run fueled by Alexa Adair and Dakota Vann. The duo combined for 10 points in the first quarter including two threes from Adair.
Enid started slow offensively with just five points, all from Courtney Chelf. The Lady Antlers played aggressive defense early, causing Enid to take tough, contested shots.
However, Enid turned the tables in the second quarter. They held Deer Creek to just five points on two made baskets. Offensively, the Pacers made their living at the free throw line. They scored all 11 of their second quarter points from the charity stripe and cut Deer Creek’s lead to 17-16 going into halftime.
The Pacers extended their lead in a back-and-forth third quarter. They put together a 4-0 run before the Deer Creek answered with a 5-0 run late in the period. Enid forward Abby Lee knocked down a jumper to extend the team’s lead to 27-24 going into the final period.
The fourth quarter turned into a free throw shooting contest and Deer Creek took advantage.
After a Bayli Blanchard bucket to open the fourth, Ashley Gibson went on a 12-3 run by herself. Ten of her 12 points were from the free throw line as the Pacers began to wear down defensively.
“We were flat from the outside,” Deer Creek head coach Totsy Manning said after the game. “So we decided we had to get to the free throw line. We found our mismatch and took advantage.”
Two late free throws by Adair iced the game at 42-33 in the final seconds as the Lady Antlers captured their second straight Bruce Gray Invitational championship and third in 19 years.
“We were a little flat early on the offensive end, but we battled back and executed down the stretch,” Manning said. “Deer Creek has never gone back-to-back in the Bruce Gray Invitational so this is great. We had a lot to prove and we wanted to keep the trophy.”
Gibson led Deer Creek with 16 points and six rebounds. She finished the game 12-14 from the free throw line and was named tournament MVP during the trophy presentation after the game.
Whitney Jones finished with seven points and five rebounds and Vann finished with five points and five rebounds. Each player was selected to the All-Tournament Team. Enid’s Courtney Chelf, sister of Oklahoma State University quarterback Clint Chelf, led all scorers with 24 points.
Deer Creek hits the road Friday against El Reno High School at 6:30 p.m. They finish the season at home against Noble High School on Feb. 15 at 6:30 p.m.