Tahlequah Daily Press

High School Sports

December 12, 2012

Beaten on Tulsa time

TULSA — Tahlequah’s girls had every chance to win the Metro Lakes Conference battle with Bishop Kelley Tuesday night, but only scored two points in the final 1:11 as the Comets pulled away to a 54-51 victory before 300.

The Tigers (3-2) had too many key turnovers, shot horribly from 3-point range and missed six free throws. That would be enough of an opening for Kelley (3-1) to exploit.

The game featured 16 lead changes and eight ties, but it was the work of Comet center Seana Stoia that doomed Tahlequah. Stoia had a game-high 16 points and completed a double-double performance with 14 rebounds. Stoia’s rebounds were exactly half of team’s total of 28.

“She did a great job for us,” Kelley coach Jade Allison said of Stoia. “We knew Tahlequah was big. I was really proud of their effort.”

The Tigers made only one 3-pointer, had 16 turnovers and hit 10-of-16 from the free throw line. While the free throw percentage is above average, two of the missed charity shots came in the final 2:03 when Tahlequah desperately needed points.

“Bishop Kelley played well,” Tiger coach Chad Walker said. “I thought our defense was good. They only had a couple of open looks. They had to earn everything they got.”

Walker was not pleased with the turnovers, missed free throws and 3-point shooting.

“We can’t beat anybody, if we do those things,” Walker added.

Jhonett Cookson led the Tigers with 13 points and got a double-double with 10 rebounds. She also blocked three shots, but fouled out with 28 seconds left in the game.

Tahlequah teammates Desiree Phipps and Whitney Wright each had 10 points. Guard Marisa Girdner had five points and also fouled out in the final 30 seconds.

Casey Beaston helped Cookson inside with a team-high 12 rebounds and scored nine points.

The Tigers’ best moment came near the end of the third quarter. Tahlequah trailed 37-32 with 10 seconds left.

Phipps made 1-of-2 free throws with six seconds showing to ignite a 9-0 run. That put Tahlequah in the lead 41-37 with 5:39 left in the game.

The rally lost steam following a turnover and a missed shot and that was all Kelley’s Stoia would need. Stoia scored nine of her team’s 17 points the rest of the way to win.

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