While its offense continued to put up points, Kiowa’s diamond-shaped defense completely flustered Savanna’s ball-handlers. With four Cowgirls positioned around the three Lady Bulldogs in the backcourt, Kiowa challenged every inbounds pass, then sent the two closest Cowgirls to double-team whoever caught the ball.
Following Raleigh’s free throw, Savanna didn’t get its next 2 points until Jordin Wilson hit two free throws with 6:48 left in the second. Savanna’s first basket didn’t come until Payton Little drained a layup with 6:30 left in the second.
“That’s our regular press, and we use it all the time,” Mabray said of her team’s defense. “The trapping on the sides, and we just all run to cover our spots, and that’s what gets us up and down the floor.”
Having returned from an ankle injury last week, Mabray said she’s gotten stronger with each game. Though she didn’t score any points Friday, Mabray played tough defense and handled the ball well, assisting on back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers in the second quarter that pushed the lead to 39-5.
Those 3-pointers came in a 12-0 Cowgirls run, with Stiles and Slawson each knocking down two from beyond the arch.
Savanna started to find its rhythm late in the second, scoring 10 in the final minutes before halftime. Wilson knocked down two free throws, then hit a 3-pointer to cut Kiowa’s lead to 45-12.
But every time Savanna seemed like it might go on a run, Clift knocked down another basket to push the game a little farther out of reach. After Wilson’s 3-pointer from well behind the 3-point line, Clift hit one from equally far away to maintain the 36-point lead.
Raleigh’s layup later made it 48-14, but Clift took an inbounds pass behind the 3-point line and knocked it down. Clift scored 27 for Kiowa, Slawson scored 20 and Stiles scored 13.