Tahlequah Daily Press

January 24, 2014

Fort frustration

Lady Cougars lose to Muldrow in Old Fort Classic semifinals

By MIKE KAYS
CNHI

— FORT GIBSON — With Muldrow forward Alex Butcher on the bench with four fouls, Keys made a run.

When Butcher came back into the game, she chopped up the Cougars in the Old Fort Classic  here Thursday afternoon, helping her team to a 55-46 semifinal victory.

With the Lady Bulldogs up 38-30 with 4:29 left in the third quarter, Butcher picked up her fourth foul. To that point, she had been responsible for 21 points, 11 of which came at the free-throw line.

With her on the pine, back came the Lady Cougars, taking the lead on Casey Nolan’s third 3-point basket of the contest with 5:11 to play, making it 45-44. Muldrow took a time out, inserted Butcher and her putback with 4:07 to play on the Bulldogs’ very first possession after the regroup gave her team the lead for good.

She would add four more free throws and four critical rebounds to finish with 27 points and seven boards. She was 15-of-16 from the line as three Lady Cougars ended up with four fouls — Morgan Drywater, Kaylie Snyder and Ali Nolan.

“We talked about getting her blocked out but she’s a great rebounder,” Keys coach Mickey Duncan said. “It’s hard to deny her. When you foul her she’s going to make free throws. If you don’t block her out, she’s going to rebound.”

Sydni Rainbolt, whose thorn in the flesh is typically the referee’s whistle, finished with 17 points. Taylor O’Donnell had 15 and Casey Nolan 11.

“We were able to save (Sydni) by going to a zone. It not only saved her but she responded a little for us there,” he said. “She didn’t get a key roll or two at the basket but this was a tough test for us and we took it down to the wire.”

Keys (7-5) battled back from a 34-23 halftime deficit. Butcher had 19 first-half points with four field goals. Her only miss from the line came on the second end of a two-shot foul in the second quarter.

Muldrow (7-6) will get a Old Fort finals rematch with Fort Gibson on Saturday. Keys will face Sand Springs for third place.