McALESTER — The McAlester Lady Buffaloes and Hugo Lady Buffaloes played each other even in the first quarter, but a dominant second quarter from Hugo left McAlester too big a deficit to overcome.
Three Hugo players scored in double-digits, leading their team to a 62-39 win at McAlester’s Bob Brumley Gymnasium on Tuesday.
Up just 2 points to start the second, Hugo’s Sarah Simpson buried a 3-pointer on the first possession of the quarter to make it 17-12 Hugo. That started a 15-0 run by Hugo that didn’t end until McAlester forward Lacey McLain drained a layup with 1:44 left in the half to make 27-14 Hugo.
Beautiful Brown, Torrii Tarkington and Rayshee Smith all scored for Hugo during that momentum-swinging run.
“The second quarter, we just concentrated on defense,” Hugo coach Chris Scott. “We picked up the pressure a little bit, and I think we just kind of wore them down.”
April Calistro hit a 3-pointer for McAlester early in the third, but Hugo again outscored McAlester, 20-8, to put the game away. Hugo combined a high-pressure perimeter defense with strong play in the paint from forwards Brown and Shaniqua Patterson to force 25 McAlester turnovers.
“That’s one of our strong points,” Scott said. “I think that we can be able to cause a lot problems defensively by picking up full-court. We can get up, make people work, and just try to get easy baskets out of transition.”
Tarkington benefited the most from Hugo’s tough defense, scoring a game-high 17 points on seven baskets, several of which came off turnovers.
“We just had to get into it,” Tarkington said. “We just came from a long bus ride, so I think we just had to get into the game a little bit.”
McAlester’s turnovers forced its defenders into a transition game that played into Hugo’s speed. When McAlester was able to set up an actual defense, either off a basket or a turnover out of bounds, it had far more success turning aside Hugo’s shooters.