MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

March 3, 2013

No return trip for Oktaha: Lady Tigers go down in 2A

By Mike Kays
Phoenix Staff Reports

— WILBURTON – The Oktaha Lady Tigers were hoping to make a return trip to the state tournament when the season began.

Those hopes were dashed on Saturday when Oktaha fell in the Class 2A Area IV consolation finals to Preston 57-46 in Wilburton.

“I’m extremely proud of the girls,” said Oktaha coach Chester Pittman. “It was a two-point game at halftime but we just ran out of gas.”

Having to come back after a 47-44 overtime loss to Colbert in the Area championship game on Friday, the Lady Tigers, 26-3 and No. 8 in the final Okrankings.com Class 2A poll, were able to keep up with the Lady Pirates (21-10, No. 13 in Class 2A), trailing only 25-23 at intermission.

In the second half, fatigue set in as Preston began pulling away, ending Oktaha’s season one step short of back-to-back trips to Oklahoma City.

“We lost our legs, we played so hard (Friday),” Pittman said. “We played very, very hard. I thought we did a really good job. The final margin was 11 but it was a lot closer game than that. Preston’s tough and they played well.”

Oktaha had two players end the night in double figures with Jaylie Roper finishing with 13 points while Lanessa Grayson had 12 points.

“This senior class lost one game as juniors and three as seniors,” Pittman said. “The last two years they go 55-4 and make a state tournament appearance. I couldn’t be prouder of those kids.”