FORT GIBSON—As if the Lady Tigers of Fort Gibson needed another weapon in their offensive arsenal, a new face lit up the court and the scoreboard for Fort Gibson Tuesday night as the Lady Tigers rolled to a 51-29 win over Harding Charter Prep in a battle of Class 4A top-10 ranked teams.
Jordan Gann, who transferred to Fort Gibson from Sequoyah after the Indians scrubbed basketball for the year due to COVID-19 concerns, scored 13 points to help lead the No. 5-ranked Tigers over the No. 9 Lady Eagles.
“We knew about Jordan and were glad to get her in our program,” said Fort Gibson coach Chuck London. “She fits into our program well with great character and good basketball skills. She brings physicality to our inside game to go along with Lexie (Foutch), Reese (Webb) and Gracy (Shieldnight).”
The game started somewhat ominously for the Lady Tigers as Harding sharpshooter Azjah Reeves hit three treys and 6-foot-3 Marquette commit Kendra Gillispie added six points, and Harding led after the first quarter 17-15. But then the vaunted Fort Gibson defense took over, limiting the Lady Eagles to just 12 points total over the final three quarters as they were 10-of-41 on the night.
“I loved our defense tonight,” said London. “We mixed it up with zone and man-to-man and after letting Reeves get loose early, she hit only one more the rest of the game and we did a good job of controlling the big girl as well.”
On offense Fort Gibson (10-1) worked the ball in and out with many possessions seeing 10 passes or more before a shot. Harding, playing man-to-man all the way and using just six players, eventually just wore down chasing Fort Gibson on offense.
“I was really proud of our kids. They battled hard,” London said. “The added boost of Jordan Gann was special. Gracy had a really strong game from start to finish. Kynzi London was solid the whole game. Lexie Foutch played more physical tonight than we’ve seen her and Jenna Whiteley is a go-getter and a rebounder. She’s five-foot nothing but we shoot it and she’s after the offensive board, she’s getting defensive rebounds and she’s guarding their best player.”
After the first quarter, Fort Gibson blew the game open as they outscored Harding 16-3 to lead 31-20 at halftime.
Shieldnight was high-point with 16 to go along with Gann’s 13 and London added 11 for Fort Gibson. Reeves finished with 12 points for the Lady Eagles (9-3) and Gillispie had 10.
The Lady Tigers next turn their attention to hosting the Old Fort Classic starting Thursday with a 6:30 p.m. contest against Tulsa Hale.
Boys:Fort Gibson 71, Harding Prep 53
The Tigers jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the first four minutes of the game, but the Eagles clawed their way back to take a 15-14 lead after the first quarter.
The second quarter saw the game remain tight with four lead changes and the Eagles maintaining a 30-29 edge at the break.
But the Tigers (6-5) came out inspired in the second half, hitting the boards hard. The offense was led by Jaxon Blunt who had 19 points.
Fort Gibson outscored Harding 14-4 in the first five minutes of the third quarter to lead 43-34 which stretched to 10 points, 50-40, going to the fourth. The Tigers ran off the first six points of the final stanza and never looked back.
“We’re starting to get a little bit better,” said Tiger coach Todd Dickerson. “We were a little more balanced in scoring tonight which is what we like to see.
“We had a good second half, The guys hooked it up and did a lot of the things I asked them to do and we were fortunate enough to pull away. Jaiden Graves hit the boards real hard for us in that second half and that helped a lot.”
Besides Blunt, Seth Rowan had 10 points on the night, Graves tossed in 10 while Grant Edwards and Caden Dennis each had nine points to highlight the balanced scoring that Dickerson described. For the Eagles (2-7), Jackson Lugrand was the leading scorer with 12 points and Terry Nguyen added 11.
The Tigers will host Hulbert in the opening round of the Old Fort Classic Thursday night at 8 p.m.