By Eric Shannon
FORT GIBSON – Brooke Palmer did just about anything she wanted to do Friday night against the Catoosa Lady Indians.
Palmer shot 9-of-13 from the field then dominated the paint with 11 rebounds, five of them on the offensive end, pushing 4A No. 2 Fort Gibson to 21-0 on the year as the Lady Tigers cruised to a 72-46 win over the Lady Indians.
Palmer’s night started out fairly pedestrian until Suzie Hill came off the bench to punch in five first-quarter points to loosen up the inside game. From there, Palmer took over in the second quarter pumping in 10 of the team’s 19 points.
“We had a practice revival of sorts this week,” said Lady Tigers coach Jerry Walker. “We spent the week trying to find ourselves and work on our mental toughness and working on being more physical up and down the court.”
The toughness was evident as the Lady Tigers turned in a defensive performance that set the tone early on. Forcing 12 turnovers in the opening quarter alone, and 27 on the night, Fort Gibson fought for every pass and contested every shot that the Lady Indians put up allowing just 7-of-26 shooting from the floor in the first two quarters.
With the defense forcing opportunities, the offense pushed the lead to a 16-2 advantage with 1:20 left in the first quarter even though the Lady Tigers only connected on 31 percent of their shots.
“We had much better ball movement tonight and our intensity showed up forcing the turnovers,” said Walker. “Our pace was better and Brooke (Palmer) did a great job not only working inside but passing the ball.”
Building a 38-18 halftime lead, Palmer, Kilpatrick and the rest of the Lady Tigers put the second half in cruise.
The Lady Indians did make a push coming out after intermission with a 19-point barrage ignited by Kayla Jones’ seven points. However, Palmer stepped up once again with eight points in the third quarter as the Lady Tigers took a 56-37 lead into the final stanza.
Kilpatrick finished the night with 11 points off the bench and found five rebounds as Taylor London chipped in nine.
FGHS 75, Catoosa 34
It didn’t matter where the Catoosa Indians looked, all they saw was Jordan, a pair of them in fact. Jordan Hill and Jordan London combined for 40 points, leading sixth-ranked Fort Gibson to an easy win Friday night, improving their record to 18-3 on the season.
The Tigers shot out to an 18-6 first quarter lead, then showed no mercy as they led 42-6 at halftime, forcing 15 turnovers in the first half and lead by as much as 45 points late in the third quarter.
Lead by Hill and London, the pair combined for more points in the first two periods than the visiting Indians had as a team, 25-6, and London pulled down more rebounds in the first half than the visitors.
“The kids got off to a good start,” said Tigers coach Gary Hendrix. “We passed the ball well, saw the open man and we just got them (Indians) down early. I was very pleased at our effort and our guys showed very good intensity all game long.”
With London and Hill having free run with their shots, it was Ned Adair, Zach Lindley, Jake Gandara and Collin Abdullah that kept the open looks coming with precision passing and ball movement.
“Hill and London ran the floor well and shot well but it was a team effort moving the ball around to the open man,” said Hendrix.
Lindley chipped in with nine points as Adair and Gandara added five each.
The only despondent point on the night was the Tigers’ free-throw shooting. They connected on 10 of 26 from the charity stripe.