BROKEN BOW — McAlester’s defense has improved enough that it can now keep opposing scores from getting out of hand.
Now the Lady Buffaloes just need to find their shooting stroke.
The Lady Buffs shot well below 50 percent Saturday, preventing them from mounting a comeback and leading to a 61-52 loss to the idabel Lady at the Savage Classic in Broken Bow.
Though the loss dropped the Lady Buffs to 1-6, those 52 points made the game McAlester’s second-best offensive game behind a 54-point performance against Tahlequah Sequoyah on Dec. 17.
“From the field goal range, we were 18-for-54, and almost every one of them on the shot charts were in the paint,” McAlester coach April Burns said. “So we have to finish layups. We’re getting shots right around the goal; we have to learn how to be mentally tough and focused to put the ball in the hole.”
In order to push the defensive tempo, Burns said, McAlester started the game with four guards on the floor. That strategy helped keep Idabel’s scoring to mini-runs of 2-6 points, but Idabel still finished the first quarter up 19-9.
A free throw from Samantha Wolf put Idabel on the board, then Marquisha Vann got it to Tahjanie Harris for a layup that made it 3-0 Idabel. April Calistro found Baylee Dawkins under the basket for McAlester’s first bucket, but Harris scored again to push the lead back to 3.
McAlester answered again, this time with Calistro finding Taylor Compton for a layup. But Malieka Faulks made two free throws, then passed it to Keyia Green for a layup that pushed Idabel’s lead to 9-4.
Vann put back an offensive rebound later in the first. After Lacey McLain scored a layup for McAlester, Vann’s 3-pointer made it 14-6 Idabel.
Faulks’ two free throws pushed the lead to 10, Calistro knocked down a 3-pointer, then an Idabel steal led to a basket by Harris that made it 19-9.