By Eric Shannon
FORT GIBSON — Savannah Gray set the tone early for Fort Gibson with seven points in the first quarter point as the Lady Tigers jumped out to a 15-1 lead at the end of the quarter, en route to a 58-31 pouncing of Sand Springs in the semifinals of the Old Fort Classic at Harrison Field House on Thursday night.
Gray finished the night with nine points and eight rebounds.
As lopsided the first quarter was, it wasn’t the Lady Tigers offense that was setting the world on fire. Connecting on just six-of-18 shooting, it was the defense that forced 10 turnovers in the period and kept Sand Springs off balance and the scoreboard.
“Our defense is carrying us right now,” Fort Gibson coach Jerry Walker said. “We would make steals and stops but couldn’t convert on the other end tonight. We missed to many open shots and free throws tonight.”
Despite stretching their lead to as much as 22-2 with 6:47 left in the first half, the Lady Tigers (13-0) let Sand Springs back in the game with a 14-2 run keyed by Sydney Pennington’s seven points in the second quarter.
Allie Glover and Grace Parker closed out the quarter with a pair of buckets and for a Lady Tigers’ 28-14 lead.
Desiree Phipps pumped in six of her eight points in the third quarter as Fort Gibson moved the lead to 20 points (44-24) going into the final quarter.
Parker was the workhorse on the night with nine rebounds and two steals to go along with her 11 points. Jayme Hill had a team-high 12 points, making six of eight shots from the field for the game.
“Jayme is as good a shooter that I have had, she has a great midrange shot and if you give her an opening she’s hard to beat,” Walker said. “And Parker does an outstanding job doing whatever we ask of her, she goes 110 mph all game long.”
Fort Gibson gets a rematch with Muldrow in the finals on Saturday.
“We have played Muldrow in the finals a bunch of times, that’s for sure,” Walker said. “They have a good group of kids on and off the court.” “They are a lot like us and match up well with what we do.”