, Muskogee, OK


February 5, 2014

MHS splits at Sand Springs

SAND SPRINGS – At this point in the season, Muskogee girls coach Doyle Rowland feels his team should be playing like it wants to make a deep run in the playoffs.

What he feels and what he saw on Tuesday at Sand Springs were two different things, even though the Lady Roughers beat the Lady Sandites 59-51.

“We’re not going to make it out the regional if we play like this,” Rowland said. “Tonight we played like we should be playing in December.”

The Lady Roughers, 13-3 and No. 6 in Class 6A, started the game like they were in midseason form with Jada Ford hitting 5 of 6 shots in leading Muskogee to a 17-9 advantage after the first quarter. At that point, the mistakes began to happen as Sand Springs (7-11) opened the second quarter with a 12-0 run, forcing seven Muskogee turnovers, to take a 21-17 lead with 3:37 left in the quarter.

The Lady Roughers regrouped and grabbed the lead back on a 3 by Ford and a layup by Aaliyah Wilson, making the score 22-21. The teams traded the lead on the next two possessions, with Muskogee taking the lead for good on a layup by Lanice Rozell to put the Lady Roughers up for good at 24-23. They led at the half, 30-26.

“I can’t say this was inexperience for the way we played,” Rowland said. “We are well past that point. We just have to start learning that we can’t play this way and expect to win.”

Ford, who scored 19 of her game-high 25 points in the first half, knew early in the second half that the Lady Sandites were going to slow her down.

“But It allowed our inside game to get going,” Ford said. “They knew what we came to do. They also knew we wanted to shoot.”

Muskogee opened the third quarter very similarly to the first, outscoring Sand Springs 13-4 to push its advantage to 43-30 with 4:10 left in the quarter. That’s when Rozell had to leave after getting popped in the nose and in her absence, the Lady Sandites forced six turnovers and trimmed Muskogee’s margin to 43-37. Rozell returned at the 1:24 mark, kept Sand Springs off the board and her team led 45-37  heading into the final eight minutes.

And as happened in the second quarter, the Lady Roughers could not handle prosperity as Sand Springs scored the first six points to trim the deficit to two, 45-43. Wilson stopped the run with a 3 to put the Lady Roughers up 48-43 and the Lady Sandites never got closer.

Besides Ford’s 25, Wilson finished with 16 and Rozell had 11. Sand Springs was led by Sydney Harrington with 22 points and Dru Clark with 13.

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