By Ronn Rowland
Phoenix Sports Writer
At halftime of Tuesday’s game at Ron Milam Gymnasium, it looked like Muskogee’s win streak was over.
The Lady Roughers trailed Owasso at intermission 41-25 in Frontier Conference action, but turned things around in the second half, outscoring the Lady Rams 57-30 to win 82-71 to extend their streak to 12 consecutive games.
“Every time, we’ve had to come in at halftime and lay down the law,” said MHS coach Doyle Rowland. “I told them ‘you gotta keep the ship on course and can’t get complacent and do your own thing and expect to pull it out.’ They told us at halftime they were going to play better defense and take care of the basketball, play Rougher basketball.”
The first-half numbers showed why the Okrankings.com Class 6A No. 2 Lady Roughers were in a 16-point hole. Muskogee (17-2, 8-2) shot 28 percent (9 of 32) while Owasso (7-11, 4-8) hit on 55 percent (12 of 22) of their shots.
The second half saw the Lady Roughers convert 18 of 26 shots (69 percent) while the Lady Rams took only 19 shots and converted nine of them (47 percent).
“We knew how we played in the first half,” said senior Alexus Wilson, playing her final regular-season home game. “We just sat there in the locker room and thought what we needed to do and came out and did it.”
On Senior Night, it was three seniors that led the comeback — starting with Kelsey McClure, who poured in 18 of her game-high 27 points in the second stanza. Mari Jackson, who finished with 22 points, also scored 18 in the second half while Wilson scored 10 of her 13 points in the half.
Owasso had four players in double figures, scoring all but two of their points. Dru Clark had 26 points on the evening while Kylie Penning had 20 points, Taylor Koelsch had 12 and Taylor O’Dell had 11 points.
The comeback didn’t begin in earnest until late in the third quarter when the Lady Roughers trimmed a nine-point deficit to two, 55-53, heading into the final quarter. When Jackson drained a 3-pointer and made the free-throw after being fouled on the shot, the comeback was complete as Muskogee took its first lead of the game at 57-55.
“We need a spark like that,” said McClure of Jackson’s four-point play. “It was all the seniors on the floor when we began the surge and we didn’t want to lose that last home game.”
After an Owasso turnover, the Lady Roughers made the score 60-55 on an old-fashioned 3-point play by McClure. Wilson would continue the push with back-to-back baskets and Aaliyah Wilson, Alexus’ sister, drained a three to give Muskogee a 67-55 advantage and Owasso never got closer.
“Our defense makes our offense,” Rowland said. “We came out and got a couple of turnovers and rebounded the basketball and got into our flow. When we get into their flow, we can play.”
After the game, all the seniors, boys and girls, were honored in a special ceremony and McClure, a four-year starter along with Alexus Wilson knew what it meant to win that final game in a Muskogee uniform.
“Words can’t explain the way I feel,” she said. “It feels good that the deficit we were in, we came out of it and pulled it together as a team. We didn’t want to go out like that.”
The Owasso Rams, No. 3 in the Class 6A boys poll, opened the game with the first nine points and never looked back in defeating Muskogee on Tuesday.
The Roughers (8-11, 4-6 Frontier Conference) did trim the opening deficit to 12-7 but watched as Owasso (15-3, 10-2) ended the first quarter with a 9-3 run to grab a 21-10 advantage.
By the time the two teams went to the locker room at intermission, the Rams had increased their lead to 35-18.
“Owasso played good,” said MHS coach Josh Berry. “We didn’t come out ready to play and that’s the bottom line.”
The second half was not much better as Owasso outscored the Roughers 22-11 to remove all doubt, taking a 57-29 lead into the fourth quarter.
Two Roughers finished the game in double figures with Tramal Ivy scoring 15 points while Anthony King had 10 points. Shane Milton led the Rams with 20 points and Jaylen Lowe had 17 points.
Owasso had two players crack the double-figure plateau with Shake Milton scoring 20 points and Jaylen Lowe adding 17 points.
“We need to get better for tomorrow,” Berry said. “We need to work and get better for Friday.”
Dexter McGriff and Lui Lee, all seniors who have seen light action this season, played their final game at MHS.