McALESTER — Lady Panthers 48, Lady Warriors 34:
The Pittsburg Lady Panthers may have given away too many possessions and missed too many open shots, but even a sloppy Lady Panthers performance was just too much for the youthful Haileyville Lady Warriors.
Led by 11 points from Chandler Billingsley, the Lady Panthers beat the Lady Warriors 48-34 in Tuesday’s first-round game of the Pitt 8 Tournament at the Southeast Expo Center in McAlester.
“It was ugly,” Pittsburg coach Wes Wood said. “We played sloppy and didn’t have much energy today. We will definitely have to play better Thursday (in the semifinals).”
With the game tied 4-4, the Lady Panthers went on a 14-1 run that stretched from midway through the first quarter through to the second. Billinglsey started the run with a layup, Haileyville turned the ball over, then Erin Cross found Trei Haynes for a jump shot and an 8-4 lead.
Cross knocked down a 3-pointer later in the first, then a steal led to a fastbreak layup from Leighah Carney that put Pittsburg up 9. Joy Picotte’s free throw ended Pittsburg’s scoring streak, but Pittsburg still went into the second quarter up 13-5.
The Lady Warriors looked like they might score 3 points in a row when Hannah Manning came away with a steal early in the second, but Carney stole the ball right back and scored to put Pittsburg up 15-5.
Billingsley later took an inbounds pass from Angela Meredith, sank the layup, drew a foul and converted the free throw to make it 18-5 Pittsburg. Billingsley never found any real offensive rhythm and looked frustrated throughout the game, but despite that still penetrated the paint well and frequently collapsed Haileyville’s defense.
“Very slick, and it’s way different than the regular gym,” Billingsley said of the Expo Center court — a criticism repeated by multiple coaches, players and officials in the first two days of competition.