McALESTER — Deer Creek’s full-court defense never settled into one alignment. Sometimes the Lady Antlers seemed to be running a 1-2-2, sometimes it looked like a 2-2-1, and sometimes it seemed like a hybrid of the two.
Whatever the defense’s exact name, it put the McAlester Lady Buffaloes in an early hole from which they never recovered.
The Lady Antlers dominated the first four minutes of Friday’s game, eventually beating the Lady Buffs 53-26 at Bob Brumley Gymnasium in McAlester.
“Our defensive strategy always stays the same,” Deer Creek coach Totsy Manning said. “We’re going to play really solid man-to-man defense and press you a lot. ... We really just like to make you guess. And then whenever you’ve stopped guessing and make a certain pass, then we want to trap you out of that.”
McAlester turned back Deer Creek on the Lady Antlers’ first two possessions, but Bayli Blanchard grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on their third, putting Deer Creek up 2-0. That allowed Deer Creek to set up its press, and the defense produced immediate results, with Dakota Vann stealing the ball and laying it in.
McAlester turned over its next possession, and on the opposite end Blanchard scored again, this time off a pass from Shae Scheffler. Deer Creek guard Whitney Jones then came up with a steal, then later took an inbounds pass from Scheffler and drained a 3-pointer.
McAlester missed on its next possession, then committed another turnover. Scheffler then scored off a pass from Jones for an 11-0 lead.
“We had 10 turnovers in the first quarter, and that’s a killer,” Lady Buffs coach April Burns said.
“They played very physical, man-to-man defense. They were all up all over us. It was hard for us to run any kind of an offense.”