Deer Creek’s senior forward Skylar Vann ripped down her second rebound of the fourth-quarter with still seven and a half minutes left in Saturday’s Class 6A girls Region 1 Championship game against Putnam City West.
Vann had picked up her first of the fourth just a possession earlier. With Creek flowing on offense, an errant Antler attempt rattled out of the can. Vann was there, gobbled the board and immediately put it back for a quick two points.
The second rebound, with the Antlers now digging in defensively, was just as impactful. She was hammered from behind on the grab, and it put the Antlers in the free-throw bonus 25 seconds south of the entire fourth quarter.
The boards also sent a message. PC West had just ran off to a 21-10 advantage in the game’s third quarter. The Antlers had completely dominated the first half to take a 25-point intermission edge. The Patriots, though, had wrested an unbelievable amount of momentum on a quarter-opening 12-5 run. Then, after a mid-quarter timeout, they threw the same level of punch. By the end of the third, West had brought that quarter-century lead down to just 13.
But Creek’s leading scorer had entered to start the fourth, and her two rebounds took control back for the Antlers. What was a critical and stressful contest just two minutes prior now felt almost like a mere formality.
The Antlers had all the right answers to what little Putnam City West got going in the fourth. A Patriots 3 midway through the quarter was immediately snuffed with a 3-pointer from Vann the next possession. Then, Angel Scott got her last of her game-best six steals to lead Scott to a fast-break bucket and the lead was back to 22.
Vann and Scott had the stave-off plays late, and Creek’s Bri Scott had already amassed 21-points on 8-for-11 shooting by the time of Angel’s swipe. And, according to Deer Creek head coach Alex Moorehead, the trio’s level of play Saturday was something that the rest of his roster mimicked.
“We have 14 or 15 girls that are definitely ready to go. Those three had really good games, but we still had Jenna Marshall, Brenna Burk and others coming in there with rebounds,” Moorehead said. “When those three are playing really well and everyone else picks up the slack then we’re going to be tough to beat.”
Marshall had her moments in running Creek out to a 25-point lead at the second-quarter horn. Thrice she found assists for 3-point makes, and she’d be the facilitator that saw the Antlers knock down 4-for-7 from deep in the first half.
Skylar Vann finished with a game-best 31 points on 13-of-19 shooting Saturday. She clipped at a 90% pace throughout Creek’s big first half, too. She’d power in three and-one shots in the lane, make all eight of her 2-point, first-half tries, and she’d shoot 2-for-5 from 3-point range throughout Saturday’s regional championship.
Bri Scott had her 21 Saturday, too, finishing with seven rebounds and three steals. Angel Scott had seven boards alongside 14 points and a tie for the team-best five assists. Marshall also had five assists.
Next for Deer Creek is an area championship game that will guarantee at least one Edmond-area girls basketball team a state tournament qualification. Edmond North dispatched Norman North at the same time Saturday, meaning that this time next weekend one of the Huskies or Antlers will get a week-long break while the other is vying for qualification through the consolation bracket.
Both of the Edmond pair have been ranked No. 1 in 6A at least once this season, and Moorehead said that next Thursday’s draw will demand his team’s full attention once practice starts back on Monday.
“It’s going to be another battle,” he said. “We played them earlier in the year when they were No. 1 so I don’t think it’s going to be anything short of the game we just played. We’re excited. We’re definitely going to bask in this for a little bit but once it hits Monday we’re going to be ready to go.”