Tahlequah Daily Press

High School Sports

December 14, 2012

WEB EXCLUSIVE: No. 7 Tahlequah snaps 2-game skid, beats No. 10 Collinsville

Tahlequah teams sweep Collinsville in MLC play.

No one had figured out how to stop Collinsville's Shelbie Kirby through six games this season. Tahlequah didn't seem to have a problem doing so on Friday night.

The Class 5A No. 7 Lady Tigers smothered Kirby — holding her to eight points on 4 of 19 shooting — en route to a 52-43 victory in Metro Lakes Conference play at the TMAC.

"We're a good defensive team when we're playing packed-in defense," Tahlequah coach Chad Walker said. "We're focused on helping our teammate, and I think that's when we're at our best."

Tahlequah's defense flustered Collinsville for most of the game, limiting the Lady Cardinals to 17 of 46 shooting from the field. And for the first time this season, Collinsville didn't have a single player score in double figures.

The Lady Tigers (4-2, 2-1 Metro Lakes Conference) weren't much better while tossing up shots, posting a 29.1-percent shooting percentage while only making 16 of 55 field goals. However, take away a 0-of-15 effort in the fourth quarter and Tahlequah shot a modest 40 percent (16 of 40).

Casey Beaston led Tahlequah with 12 points and nine rebounds, while Randee O'Donnell added 10 points and eight rebounds.

Toss in eight points from Marisa Girdner and six points from Jhonett Cookson and Tahlequah's starting five outscored Collinsville's 36-23.

"They did a good job," Walker said of his starters.

Yet, it was one of Tahlequah's reserves with a key moment in the contest.

After Collinsville went on a 9-2 run to start the second quarter to force a 20-20 tie (the only one of the game), Tahlequah's Alissa Hadley buried two key 3-pointers — in between a jumper from Desiree Phipps — to give the Lady Tigers a 28-20 edge.

Tahlequah would take a 28-22 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Lady Tigers would take their largest lead of the game during a 42-second stretch in the third quarter.

With 3:13 left in the third period and Tahlequah ahead 36-26, Collinsville turned the ball over when it failed to exit its huddle in a timely manner during a timeout. The Lady Cardinals were called for a five-second violation, which Tahlequah followed with a short jumper from Beaston.

Then, Girdner intercepted Collinsville's ensuing inbounds pass and easily converted on a point-blank layup.

Collinsville (5-2, 2-1) would never recover.

Collinsville coach Kelly Clarke did not make him available for comments following the game.

Tahlequah will be at home again Saturday when it hosts Coweta. Collinsville will be at Claremore on Tuesday.

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