By Matt Goisman
McALESTER — Cowgirls 70, Lady Panthers 48:
Short of throwing a cargo net over her, there just might not be a way to stop Kiowa guard Addy Clift.
Clift scored 36 points, helping the Cowgirls beat the Pittsburg Lady Panthers 70-48 in Saturday’s Pitt 8 Tournament championship at the Southeast Expo Center in McAlester.
Kiowa last won the Pitt 8 Tournament in 2012.
A 3-point game at halftime, the Cowgirls began to pull away in the third quarter. Rylee Smith found Miranda Stiles for a 3-pointer on the first possession of the second half, and after Chandler Billingsley knocked down two free throws for Pittsburg, Stiles found Clift for a 3-pointer and a 34-27 Cowgirls lead.
“We just came out a little bit tight, offensively,” Kiowa coach Wade Daniel said. “For some reason, we were tight, and they just loosened up a little bit. I said (at halftime), ‘We’ve got to make some changes or we’re going to get beat,’ and they responded.”
Pittsburg couldn’t score on its next two possessions, then Clift grabbed an offensive rebound and scored. Dominating the rebounding game, the Cowgirls often got off two or three shots for every one taken by Pittsburg.
“I think 7 of their first 10 points or so were second-chance points, and you can’t do that against good teams,” Pittsburg coach Wes Wood said.
Pittsburg forward Mikal Wainscott’s free throw made it a 9-point game, then Kiowa lost its next possession to a traveling violation. But on the opposite end Kiowa guard Tara Mabray pinned Billingsley, forcing a five-second penalty and returning the ball to the Cowgirls.
Kiowa scored following the five-second call, with Rylee Smith grabbing the offensive board and laying it in. After Wainscott did the same thing on the opposite end, Clift found Smith for a layup and a 42-30 lead.
Wainscott again scored off an offensive rebound, but Cowgirls guard Madi Slawson got 1 point back with a free throw. Tori Gillispie then went to the foul line for Kiowa.
Gillispie missed both her shots, but Mabray grabbed an offensive rebound, then got it to Clift for a layup and a 45-32 lead.
“Her and Miranda switched off duties (covering Billingsley), and they both did a terrific job,” Daniel said of Mabray.
“We boarded better in the second half. Played much better defense, but boarded also a lot better.”
Slawson’s jump shot pushed Kiowa’s lead to 47-32 early in the fourth quarter. Kiowa outscored Pittsburg 25-16 in the fourth, with Clift scoring 12 points.
Wainscott scored 18 for Pittsburg, and Billingsley scored 16. Seven Cowgirls scored, but only Clift scored in double digits.
Warriors 55, Hornets 52:
After upsetting Canadian in the first round and shocking Kiowa in the semifinals, the Haileyville Warriors had already far surpassed what anyone expected them to do in the 2014 Pitt 8 Tournament.
But in a game that surprised everyone but perhaps the Warriors themselves, Haileyville had one last bit of magic left in them.
Bryer Stites, Tristan Tiger and James Hart all had double-digit scoring nights, helping the Warriors knock off the four-time champion Stuart Hornets in the Pitt 8 Tournament championship, 55-52.
Haileyville last won the Pitt 8 Tournament in 1944, according to Haileyville fans.
“Canadian, Kiowa and Stuart, all three teams beat us between 50 and 60 points last year,” Haileyville coach Jody Hull said. “It’s sweet.”
Though Haileyville held a 12-point lead as late as the third quarter, Stuart guard Dillon Lawrence’s steal led to a fastbreak layup that cut the lead to 44-41 late in the third. Haileyville missed its next shot but came away with an offensive rebound, and James Hart knocked down a 3-pointer with two seconds left to give Haileyville a 6-point lead heading into the fourth.
“We talked about getting a hand in their face, moving your feet, Bryer rotating, and when Bryer rotates, everybody rotates down to protect the goal,” Hull said. “Blocking out, giving them one shot, and being patient on offense.”
Kaleb Wilson again pulled the Hornets to within 3, scoring a layup, drawing a foul and sinking the free throw early in the fourth. But after both teams missed on their next possession, Tiger took an inbounds pass from Hart and knocked down a 3-pointer.
Tiger led the Warriors with 19 points, hitting three 3-pointers during the game.
“I just remembered to keep my distance,” Tiger said. “Just all around play better, dribble better and be more alert, because they were almost as quick as me.”
A free throw from Lawrence and a layup from Wilson again cut the lead to 3, then a turnover led to a layup by Sam Mitchell that made it a 1-point game. Though benched the entire first quarter for disciplinary reasons, according to Stuart coach Darrick Farriell, regular starting guards Wilson (17 points), Lawrence (9) and Mitchell (6) combined for 32 points.
Tyler Dunagan went 0-for-2 at the foul line on Stuart’s next possession. But while Haileyville missed its next shot, on the following possession Hart found Stites in the low post for a layup, foul and free throw to push the lead back to 4,
Stites later scored off a pass from Mayo with 1:05 left in the game. Stites finished with 15 points, Mayo with 7.
“That was a momentum-changer,” Stites said of his final baskets. “I was crying right there. I just didn’t want to show it.”
Dunagan drew a foul on Stuart’s next possession, but he went 1-for-2. Wilson then got a steal, but he also went 1-for-2, making it 55-52 Haileyville with 34 seconds left in the game.
Stuart fouled Stites with 12.6 seconds left. Stites missed his first shot of a 1-and-1, giving the Hornets one last chance to tie the game.
Wilson took the inbounds pass, then dribbled it to just outside the 3-point line. He got an open look at the basket, let his shot fly, then watched it clang off the rim as time expired.
“We were 31 percent on field goals and 44 percent on free throws, and we only get beat (by) 3,” Farriell said. “That tells a story. You should get beat by 25 when you shoot that bad.”
Dunagan and Grady Brewer both scored 7 for Stuart. Hart scored 10 for Haileyville.
Lady Cougars 34, Lady Warriors 21:
Stop Tori Cole, and you take away Haileyville’s best ball-handler and only true scorer.
Between Canadian guard McKinsi Shearwood’s frustrating defense and Canadian’s dominance from the low post, the Lady Warriors just had no way to score against the Lady Cougars.
Canadian held Haileyville to just 3 second-half points, and the Lady Cougars beat the Lady Warriors 34-21 in the Pitt 8 Tournament consolation championship Saturday at the Southeast Expo Center in McAlester.
“We felt like if we could keep them from scoring, we’d have a chance to be in the ballgame, and obviously it worked,” Canadian coach Daniel Lokey said.
Canadian used a box-and-1 defense against Cole, tasking Shearwood to cover her one-on-one. Though Cole burned Shearwood for 13 points in the first half, Cole scored just 1 after halftime — a free throw that tied the game 19-19.
After misses by both teams, Tiersten Fairchilds drew a foul for Canadian and went to the line. She missed both free throws, but Haileyville couldn’t secure the defensive rebound — a huge problem for Haileyville throughout the game — and the ball went out of bounds and back to Canadian.
Given an extra possession, Krysta Ketchum found Fairchilds in the low post for a layup and a 21-19 lead. With Fairchilds and Ketchum both a head taller than anyone else on the court, Ketchum and her teammates had no problems feeding Fairchilds under the basket.
A team with no true forwards, Haileyville had no way to stop Fairchilds, who scored 25 points. Cole eventually got the ball to Audri Gleason for a layup that tied the game 21-21, but on the opposite end Fairchilds gave Canadian the lead for good by drawing a foul and making a free throw.
Ketchum’s layup made it 24-21 Canadian heading into the fourth quarter, and Fairchilds scored on three consecutive possessions to push Canadian’s lead to 30-21. With Cole unable to get free and no one else able to score — or even elevate the ball higher than the rim in several cases — Haileyville had no way to put up points, leading to a scoreless fourth quarter.
“We walked with the ball 11, 12 times,” Haileyville coach Jody Hull. “We can’t block out, they didn’t block out. All of that, plus you’re not very good to start with, equals loss.”
Baskets by Cole, Gleason and Joy Picotte helped Haileyville build a 13-5 lead in the first quarter. But with her team down 17-7 in the second, Fairchilds completed a layup-free-throw combination to cut the deficit to 7, then later put back an offensive rebound to make it 18-13 Haileyville.
Elisabeth Willis’ jump shot made it a one-possession game, and Canadian went into halftime up 19-18 thanks to a layup and two more free throws from Fairchilds.
Cougars 60, Bulldogs 49:
Paul Childers didn’t become a starter for the Canadian Cougars until Friday’s consolation semifinal of the Pitt 8 Tournament.
Starting Saturday’s consolation championship, Childers helped Canadian’s defense collapse the Savanna Bulldogs.
Chase Shearwood scored 25 points, and tough defense swung momentum Canadian’s way in the third quarter, eventually leading to a 60-49 Cougars victory and a consolation championship at the Southeast Expo Center in McAlester.
“Paul has done an excellent job,” Canadian coach Daniel Lokey said of Childers. “Before he was even starting, he was giving great minutes, and I think he has the mentality to be able to step in as a starter and be able to handle that pressure.”
Lokey added, “He has a pretty good outside shot; he has some of the best body control.”
Canadian outscored Savanna 17-8 in the third quarter, turning a 1-point game into a 45-35 lead heading into the fourth. Canadian’s defense turned back Savanna on the opening possession of the third, and on the opposite end Shearwood knocked down a 3-pointer for a 31-27 Canadian lead.
With Savanna guards Braylin McCullar and Alex Owens constantly in his face, Shearwood only managed four free throws in the first quarter. But Shearwood exploded for 11 points in the second quarter and maintained his shooting groove for the rest of the game.
“I got more aggressive trying to get shots off, and it worked,” Shearwood said of his second quarter. He also credited his success to solid screens set by Childers and his other teammates.
Ty Weiher pushed Canadian’s lead to 6 with two free throws, then Shearwood knocked down a jump shot. Kris Perry (19 points) hit a jump shot for Savanna, but Childers’ steal turned into two free throws from Ryan Leal that made it 37-30 Cougars.
Perry’s free throws cut the lead to 38-32, but Leal knocked down a 3-pointer later in the third to make it a 9-point game. Perry responded with a 3-pointer for Savanna, but Weiher found Caleb Jarrett in the low post for a layup.
Savanna then missed its last shot of the quarter, and Leal took the defensive rebound coast-to-coast for a buzzer-beating layup and a 45-35 lead.
Despite Savanna looking like the bigger team, Canadian played much more physically, keeping possessions alive with offensive rebounds and swarming Savanna ball-handlers on defensive.
“It seemed like they came up with a lot of loose balls, a lot of rebounds, stuff that’s floating around in there,” Savanna coach Brian Brown said. “I think my kids played hard, but we just didn’t do what it took to finish.”
Savanna got to within 4 points of Canadian in the fourth, with Jake Murdaugh’s score off an offensive rebound making it 51-47 Cougars. But Weiher scored on the opposite end, Savanna failed to score on its next two possessions, then Shearwood went 2-for-2 at the foul line to make it 55-47 Cougars late in the fourth.
“Halftime, we decided we were going to try to press a little bit,” Lokey said.
“I felt like if we could kind of hurry them up a little bit, get them out of their comfort zone of passing and looking for what they want and (make them) have to make quicker decisions, it would work.”
Leal scored 15 for Canadian, and Weiher scored 12. Tanner Brown and Ryan Weeks both scored 9 for Savanna.
Contact Matt Goisman at MGoisman@mcalesternews.com.