MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

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March 2, 2013

Oktaha drops 2A area final in OT

WILBURTON – All of the Oktaha Lady Tigers talked about was bouncing back.

As they walked out of the locker room after the Class 2A Area IV final at Wilburton High School’s gym on Friday night, it’s what they had to pin their hopes to after a 47-44 overtime loss to the Colbert Lady Leopards, with today’s consolation final against Preston as their rebound opportunity to make the state tournament next week.

The Lady Tigers (26-2) and Preston (20-10) clash at 6:30 p.m. in Wilburton.

“We’ll be back,” Lanessa Grayson said.

Grayson and Jaylie Roper scored 13 points each as the Lady Tigers, ranked No. 8 in the final Okrankings.com coaches poll, dropped to 26-2 and had their 14-game winning streak snapped. Oktaha had not lost since the Shrine Tournament finals to Spiro on Jan. 12.

The difference in this game was at the free-throw line in overtime. While Oktaha made all four of its attempts, No. 7 Colbert (25-4) went 9-of-11 from the line in the extra period. Katherine Hair made six of seven.

“They killed us at the line,” Grayson said.

“We just have to regroup and try again (today),” said Pittman.

Hair finished with 10 points, while Bailee Weger and Darian Bradford led the Lady Leopards with 12 points each. Colbert extended its winning streak to 15 games.

Oktaha had a chance to keep it from overtime.

With the ball and 5.2 seconds left in regulation at its end of the court. Roper took the pass and looked to pass the ball to Haley Baldridge, but Roper bobbled the ball and time ran out, forcing the overtime and the game tied at 36-36.

“I thought Haley would be open for the 3,” Roper said. “We didn’t have enough time.”

The Lady Tigers hope there is still time to earn the state tourney berth.

“We’ve got to keep our heads up,” Roper said.

Oktaha led 23-18 at halftime after Roper sank a 3-pointer with 1:52 left in the second quarter and Gamble sank a layup with 1:13 remaining.

Colbert dominated the third quarter, outscoring the Lady Tigers 16-5 to hold a 34-28 advantage going into the final period. Weger sank a pair of 3-pointers in the period.

The Lady Tigers tied the game at 36-36 on Roper’s basket with 32.3 seconds left in regulation.

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