MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

February 13, 2013

Eufaula takes two

EUFAULA – Eufaula built up a big lead and then weathered a late Haymaker by Haskell for a 71-54 victory and a sweep of the series for this year as the Lady Ironheads, ranked No. 10 in Class 3A by Okrankings.com, got ready to start a playoff run.

Using the inside size advantage of 6-foot senior Janet Hill, Eufaula poured in 26 points in the first quarter while forcing the Lady Haymakers into seven turnovers. Hill, who had 19 of her game- high 27 points in the first half, powered the Lady Ironheads to a 45-23 lead at intermission.

Haskell coach Rick Kirkhart knew there needed to be some changes for this team.

“I told the girls at halftime that what we want to accomplish is just to chip away, play good defense and be patient on offense,” said Kirkhart. “We felt like we could press them because we were a little quicker than them. But that also got us into foul trouble and when we lost Denora Wheeland to fouls, that hurt us.”

Kirkhart’s philosophy paid off as the Lady Haymakers outscored Eufaula in the second half and got the margin down to 11 points, 65-54 with 2:30 to play. But the hole was too deep and time ran out on his squad.

It was an up-and-down game for Eufaula coach Jordan Garner in terms of his team’s performance.

“I thought we played as good a first half as we’ve played all season, but then we just kind of went into survival mode in the second half and just got through it,” said Garner.

“I told the girls to keep their composure and that was kind of our word in the huddle. We knew they would make a run and they did, and I was proud of the girls for closing them out in the end.”

Hill, the senior center, agreed that the Lady Ironheads (16-6) are ready for the playoffs.

“Haskell is a good team and we played well and I feel like I did have a pretty good game,” said Hill. “We feel like we’ve stepped up and we’ve won like seven games in a row so we think we’re in the flow now.”

Connors-bound Sherrell McHenry recorded her 10th double-double of the season as she paced Haskell (10-13) with 24 points and 10 rebounds on the night. The only other Lady Haymaker in double figures was Wheeland who had 10.

For the Lady Ironheads, Cheyanna Jones with 15 points and Newakis Banks and Alyssa Banks with 10 each joined Hill in double figures.

Eufaula will host 3A districts on Saturday as the boys and girls take on Stigler while Haskell’s teams will be on the road Saturday at Sequoyah, also in 3A action.

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