Facing the larger, stronger Antlers Lady Cats, the Wilburton Lady Diggers managed just 10 baskets all night Wednesday.
Instead, Wilburton got it done with free throws.
The Lady Diggers shot 17-for-22 from the foul line, helping them beat the Lady Cats, 48-40, in Wednesday’s semifinal at the Hartshorne Pick & Shovel Classic at Taylor Gymnasium.
“We have six goals in both of our gyms, and we spend 18 to 24 minutes a day working on free throws,” Wilburton coach Justin Lowder said.
“Of course, there’s a lot of difference between pressure free throws and shooting them in practice.”
Wilburton advanced to the championship with the win. With the other girls’ semifinal postponed due to inclement weather, tournament coordinators couldn’t say whether the championship would take place Saturday or next week.
The Lady Diggers went up 21-11 on back-to-back 3-pointers by Sabrina Stanford and Michie Sokolosky in the second quarter, but the Lady Cats pulled back to within four on a layup-free-throw combination by Kendie Bryant and a 3-pointer by JaeLeigh Holder. Wilburton responded with a 7-0 run, with all 7 points coming at the foul line.
Brooke Saxon sank the first two free throws in that run, then Sam Vanderburg sank the next five to make it 28-17 Lady Diggers. Vanderburg’s last three came when she was fouled throwing up a 3-point shot from the halfcourt line as the first half expired.
“We fouled way too much, and Wilburton, they really have some good players,” Antlers coach Austin Lindly said. “They can shoot it, and they take advantage.
“Not moving our feet, not having our hands up at certain times, just getting beat at positions, and plus, the mental things. It’s things that you don’t have to do, even if you’re out of position. You still don’t have to reach, and we have to get to where we have to recognize when we’re out of position rather than making the situation worse.”