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.”
Inola 66, Fort Gibson 57
Inola’s Garrett Glass pumped in nine of his 17 points in the first 5:15 of the game and put Fort Gibson behind the eight ball, as the Tigers fell to the Longhorns in the semifinals of the Old Fort Classic.
The Tigers were led by Jordon London’s 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Jumping out to a 24-14 lead with 4:49 left in the second quarter it looked like the Longhorns couldn’t miss from behind the three point line, connecting on Glass’ 5 of 8 shooting.
The Tigers’ Coleman Crawley’s long rang jumper with 4:01 to go before halftime ignited the Tigers to pull within 25-23 and look to make a charge for the lead. Travis Hall countered with a 3-pointer of his own as the Longhorns closed the half on a 6-3 run.
More of Glass from long range shook up the Tigers in the second half and despite outscoring the Longhorns in the final stanza 22-19, Fort Gibson couldn’t overcome cold shooting from the floor.
Crawley added 12 points for the Tigers. Fort Gibson will play for third place Saturday afternoon against Sand Springs, which lost to Stilwell 74-41 in the other semifinal.
Muldrow girls knock off Keys
With Muldrow forward Alex Butcher on the bench with four fouls, Keys made a run.
When Butcher came back into the game, she chopped up the Cougars in the Old Fort Classic here Thursday afternoon, helping her team to a 55-46 semifinal victory.
With the Lady Bulldogs up 38-30 with 4:29 left in the third quarter, Butcher picked up her fourth foul. To that point, she had been responsible for 21 points, 11 of which came at the free-throw line.
With her on the pine, back came the Lady Cougars, taking the lead on Casey Nolan’s third 3-point basket of the contest with 5:11 to play, making it 45-44. Muldrow took a time out, inserted Butcher and her putback with 4:07 to play on the Bulldogs’ very first possession after the regroup gave her team the lead for good.
She would add four more free throws and four critical rebounds to finish with 27 points and seven boards. She was 15-of-16 from the line as three Lady Cougars ended up with four fouls — Morgan Drywater, Kaylie Snyder and Ali Nolan.
“We talked about getting her blocked out but she’s a great rebounder,” Keys coach Mickey Duncan said. “It’s hard to deny her. When you foul her she’s going to make free throws. If you don’t block her out, she’s going to rebound.”
Sydni Rainbolt finished with 17 points. Taylor O’Donnell had 15 and Casey Nolan 11 for Keys (7-5), which battled back from a 34-23 halftime deficit. Butcher had 19 first-half points with four field goals. Her only miss from the line came on the second end of a two-shot foul in the second quarter.
Muldrow (7-6) will get a rematch with Fort Gibson on Saturday. Keys will face Sand Springs for third place.
— Mike Kays