Turnovers plagued the Lady Miners throughout the game, as their inexperienced guards struggled against Oktaha’s constant pressure.
“We’ve been doing a better job of handling the pressure than what we showed tonight,” Stone said. “But once we settled down, we were able to break it, get the ball down the floor and get into some sets.”
Sarah Stilter drained a layup for Hartshorne to cut Oktaha’s lead back to 3, but Cantwell’s layup pushed it back to 32-27. An Oktaha steal then led to a layup by Baldridge to give Oktaha a 35-28 lead entering halftime.
On a night when Hartshorne tried to shut down Oktaha top-scorer Roper with a box-and-1 defense, Cantwell scored 18 and Baldridge scored 14.
“We did a pretty good job on her early,” Stone said of Roper. “Their outside attack wasn’t hurting us that much. We couldn’t play them man (defense) — too many places where we were mismatched.”
Oktaha maintained its offensive rhythm in the third quarter, outscoring Hartshorne 18-13 and heading into the fourth up 53-41. Shea Lynch hit two free throws and drained a 3-pointer as part of a 7-0 Lady Tigers minirun in the third, but neither team scored more than three baskets a row.
By the fourth quarter, however, Hartshorne had fallen too far behind, and the team’s lack of depth meant the Lady Miners couldn’t hang with Oktaha any longer. Oktaha won the fourth, 20-11, getting 3-pointers from Jordan Austin, Cantwell and Baldridge.
“Nobody probably gave us a chance of playing with them that close for three quarters of the basketball game,” Stone said. “They never quit, and they kept pushing the ball down the floor, kept working hard.”
Horne led the Lady Miners with 17 points. A steal by Danielle Morgan led to a fastbreak layup by Horne that put Hartshorne up 10-9 in the first, and 3-pointers by Horne put Hartshorne up 16-11 in the first and 19-14 in the second.