McALESTER — When McAlester’s defense had time to set up, the Lady Buffaloes had some success getting stops and forcing turnovers.
But against the Ardmore Lady Tigers’ high-speed defense, McAlester’s inexperienced guards turned the ball over far too often to give the team a chance.
Ardmore never trailed in Friday’s game and forced 34 McAlester turnovers, beating McAlester 59-41 at Bob Brumley Gymnasium in McAlester.
“The hustle plays really determine the game of what’s going to happen,” Ardmore coach Kevin Kelly said. “Definitely athleticism helps when the game’s not played as clean. Absolutely, athleticism definitely helped us out tonight.”
Ardmore took the lead for good with an 11-0 run in the first quarter that put McAlester on its heels. Rickkia Manuel found Faithlyn Piggee for a jump-shot that broke a 2-2 tie, then an Ardmore steal led to an easy layup by Tee Taylor that made it 6-2 Ardmore.
Ardmore’s defense then forced a traveling call against McAlester, leading to a layup by Christin Russell. After another McAlester turnover, Kyla Stapleton drained a layup, drew a foul and sank the free throw to make it 11-2 Ardmore.
Stapleton finished the run with a layup after Ardmore forced another turnover near McAlester’s basket.
“I don’t think we did a very good job of handling the press at all,” McAlester coach April Burns said. “I think we had a lot of girls who were panicking, and our ball-handling is really struggling.”
McAlester tried to battle back with a 11-2 run of its own, getting a jump-shot and three free throws from Lacey McLain and 3-pointers from Vhitney Garner and Katelynn Creekmore to make it 15-13 Ardmore. But McAlester never tied the game, and Ardmore scored the last 6 points of the quarter to go up 21-13.
Both teams scored 10 in the second quarter, but Ardmore won both the third and fourth quarters to eventually win by 18.