McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

January 22, 2014

Pitt 8 Tournament, Day 2

Two-seeds win; Warriors upset Cougars

By Matt Goisman
Sports Writer

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.

“It’s hard to get your feet up under you.”

Audri Gleason put back an offensive rebound for Haileyville’s first basket of the second quarter, then Manning went coast-to-coast for a layup that cut the lead to 18-9. With Tori Cole not scoring until the second half, Manning kept Haileyville’s offense going early.

Gleason, Manning and Cole all scored 8 for the Lady Warriors. Cross scored 9 for Pittsburg, Carney scored 8 and Haynes scored 7.

“I told the girls, ‘We probably can’t beat this team, but I want to be competitive, have it close,’” Haileyville coach Jody Hull said. “If we’d made our shots, we’d have been a lot closer. Have a chance to win our next to games is what our goal is.”

With the win, Pittsburg advanced to Thursday’s semifinal against Savanna at 7:20 p.m. Haileyville plays Crowder in Friday’s consolation semifinal at 4:30 p.m.

Warriors 60, Cougars 57:

The Haileyville Warriors found a way to, if not stop, then at least contain Canadian shooting phenom Chase Shearwood.

The Cougars never found a way to contain Haileyville center Bryer Stites.

An unstoppable force in the paint, Stites scored 27 points to help the sixth-seeded Warriors upset the third-seeded Cougars 60-57 in the first round of the Pitt 8 Tournament.

“Bryer stepped up in a big way and played the way we expect him to play every night to give us a chance to beat good people,” Haileyville coach Jody Hull said. “This is a good victory for Haileyville.”

In easily the most exciting game of the first round, the Warriors and Cougars played each other even until late into the third quarter. Ryan Leal’s floater put Canadian up 37-35 in the third, but Billy Morgan took an inbounds pass from Jordan Smith, laid it in, drew a foul and sank the free throw to put Canadian up 38-37.

Canadian couldn’t answer on its next possession, and on the opposite end Morgan got it to Stites for a layup. A steal lead to a score off an offensive rebound for Smith, then Stites again took a pass from Morgan and laid it in to make it 44-37 Haileyville.

“He was always on my outside hip, so I read him really well,” Stites said of Canadian starting center Ty Weiher, with whom Stites battled most of the night. “After I read him, I got in my groove and I went off.”

Shearwood pulled the Cougars within 4 with a 3-pointer, but an offensive rebound from Morgan led to a jumper from Smith to open the fourth. Canadian missed on back-to-back possessions, then Jason Mayo slashed through the lane, dishing it to Stites at the last second for another layup and a 48-40 lead.

Canadian tried to mount a comeback late in the fourth, with Shearwood scoring 8 points and the Cougars playing a high-pressure full-court defense. But every time Canadian would score, either Mayo (14 points) or Stites would score to keep Haileyville ahead.

Caleb Jarrett’s put-back on an offensive rebound cut Haileyville’s lead to 58-57 with 52 seconds left in the game, but Stites turned aside Shearwood on Canadian’s next possession, then Mayo found Stites for a layup that pushed the lead to 3 with 15 seconds left.

Canadian still had one shot to tie the game. Shearwood threw the ball inbounds, then circled around a screen for a 3-pointer, but his shot clanged off the rim as the buzzer sounded.

Shearwood scored 20 for the Cougars, as did Jarrett.

“I did not know who No. 12 was,” Hull said of Jarrett.

“It’s usually the guy that we leave open that burned us, and he did. He scored 20 points, but he had 16 at halftime. We made an adjustment, and we knew where he was at in the second half.”

With the win, Haileyville advanced to Thursday’s semifinal against Kiowa at 8:40 p.m. Canadian plays Pittsburg in Friday’s consolation semifinal at 5:50 p.m.

Lady Bulldogs 54, Demonettes 19:

The Savanna Lady Bulldogs defense forced turnover after turnover, then their transition game led to easy layup after easy layup.

For a team that’s struggled to score at times this season, there’s nothing like solid defense to make life easier for the Lady Bulldogs’ shooters.

Feeding off the fastbreak, Savanna guard Destiny Raleigh scored 19 points, helping the Lady Bulldogs beat the Crowder Demonettes 54-19 in the first round of the Pitt 8 on Tuesday.

“We played better defense tonight,” Savanna coach Diane Inman said.

“This game was a good game for them because they were able to see a lot of stuff that we’ve been working on, and see it paying off with easy baskets.”

Savanna jumped out to an 8-0 lead to start the game, then proceeded to outscore Crowder 21-3 in the first quarter, effectively ending the game in just eight minutes. Raleigh got Savanna on the board with a steal that turned into a layup, then Jordin Wilson sank a free throw on Savanna’s next possession to make it 3-0.

Crowder missed its next shot, then Wilson found Abby Mabray for a layup. A steal by Payton Little led to Wilson knocking down a 3-pointer that made it 8-0 before Kylee Bennett finally got Crowder on the board with a jump shot.

Savanna answered on its next possession, with Justice Smith scoring off an offensive rebound. Another steal by Little then led to a halfcourt pass from Raleigh to Smith for a layup and a 12-2 lead.

Wilson came up with a steal on Crowder’s next possession, and on the opposite end Raleigh knocked down a 3-pointer. A defensive rebound led to another fastbreak basket from Little, then Wilson’s steal later turned into a layup by Mabray that made it 19-2 Savanna.

Lizzie Crenshaw went 1-for-2 at the free throw line for Crowder’s third point, but Skye Kilburn scored on the opposite end to make it 21-3 Savanna heading into the second quarter. The Demonettes wouldn’t score again until Crenshaw sank a free throw with 3:19 left in the second, and Savanna added 7 points to its lead in the second and went into halftime up 34-9.

The Lady Bulldogs then held the Demonettes scoreless in the third quarter.

“I just didn’t have my team ready to play, and we didn’t play well, so it’s all on me,” Crowder coach Charles Durrence said. “We knew what they were going to do, and we just didn’t execute like we were supposed to.”

Crenshaw led the Demonettes with 9 points. Smith scored 8 for the Lady Bulldogs, eight of who scored at least 2.

With the win, Savanna advanced to Thursday’s semifinal against Pittsburg at 7:20 p.m. Crowder plays Haileyville in Friday’s consolation semifinal at 4:30 p.m.

Cowboys 66, Panthers 34:

The Kiowa Cowboys had too much speed, too many shooters, too good of a defense and too much cohesion for the Pittsburg Panthers to ever have a chance.

Eleven different Cowboys scored at least 2 points, and Kiowa overwhelmed Pittsburg 66-34 in the first round of the Pitt 8 Tournament.

“We played them the second week of November, and they’re so much better than they were,” Pittsburg coach Wes Wood said of Kiowa.

“We have big guys, but they don’t run the floor well. Theirs do, and that makes a big difference.”

Every time Kiowa forced a turnover or grabbed a defensive rebound, a different Cowboy took off down the court, helping the Cowboys execute a high-speed transition game that rarely required them to beat more than a single Pittsburg defender. A steal led to a fastbreak layup from Tristian McMath to start the game, then McMath stole a pass and took it coast-to-coast for a layup and a 4-0 Kiowa lead early in the first.

McMath then found Brice Smith in the paint for a layup. Patrick Shannon ended Pittsburg’s four-minute scoring drought with a layup, but Shay Calvert threw it inside to Brice Smith for a layup, foul and free throw that pushed Kiowa’s lead to 9-2.

Smith led the Cowboys with 14 points.

Kiowa closed out the first quarter on a 12-0 run, with Clay Doyle scoring twice, then Smith scored off a pass from Doyle to make it 20-3 Kiowa to start the second.

Doyle and McMath both scored 10 for Kiowa. They also anchored a physical, man-to-man defense that prevented Pittsburg from ever getting comfortable on offense.

“Our defense was the key,” Kiowa coach Keith Quaid said. “We got several turnovers and turned those into buckets.”

Brycen Overton and Clay Doyle scored to push Kiowa’s lead to 24-3, then Kyle Shields scored for Pittsburg with 6:04 left in the second. Kiowa once again answered a 2-point play with a 3-point play, this time with Doyle knocking down a 3-pointer for a 27-5 lead.

Kiowa went into halftime up 40-13, and Quaid began subbing in his bench as early as the second quarter. Though Pittsburg got points from nine different players, no one scored more than 6.

With the win, Kiowa advanced to Thursday’s semifinal against Haileyville at 8:40 p.m. Pittsburg plays Canadian in Friday’s consolation semifinal at 5:50 p.m.

Contact Matt Goisman at mgoisman@mcalesternews.com.