By JOHN D. FERGUSON
COWETA — Tahlequah’s Lady Tigers got a season high 22 points from Randee O’Donnell and continued to play sharp on offense and defense to topple Coweta 55-38 in a Metro Lakes Conference basketball game Tuesday night.
The Coweta High Fieldhouse sprung a leak due to the rain, but nothing would slow Tahlequah.
The Lady Tigers’ defense forced 25 turnovers and never allowed Coweta (5-13, 2-6 Metro Lakes Conference) to get into any kind of rhythm.
O’Donnell scored from short or long range. She had three 3-point baskets, five steals and six rebounds. This was her second straight game over 20 points.
“We’re finally starting to mesh together,” O’Donnell said of the last four games. “We’re not worrying about the play we’re trying to run, but just hustling. That has taken the pressure off.”
The ball movement to open players was superb. Point guard Marisa Girdner had five assists while Lindsay Wade and Casey Beaston had two each.
“My role is pretty much give and not take,” said Girdner, who even had a first-quarter blocked shot to her stats. “Coach wants me to help other people score, but when I do have the opportunity to score, I do.”
Girdner had five points, but her defense and ball passing were good.
Beaston followed O’Donnell with 12 points, six rebounds and two steals. Maegan Blevins was a perfect 3-of-3 from 3-point range and finished with nine points.
The game was tied at 11-all at the end of the first quarter. Tahlequah’s defense then forced a six-minute scoring drought from near the end of the first quarter to the 4:29 mark of the second. That was enough to pull away for good.
“The defense was good, but we’re shooting the ball well,” Tahlequah coach Chad Walker said. “That’s four good games in a row. They just look good. We are clicking at the right time.”
Tahlequah improved to 6-2 in Metro Lakes play and 11-7 overall. The Tigers were tied for second with Tulsa’s Bishop Kelley going into Tuesday’s game.
Kaycee Kelley led Coweta’s scoring with 10 points. Kelley was the only one on her team to score 10 or more.
Coweta 55, Tahlequah 45 (boys)
Tahlequah gave third-ranked Coweta a second-half scare. Tahlequah whittled down a 13-point halftime deficit to only five (40-35) with 1:19 left in the third quarter.
It was Matt Alberty’s second straight basket that suddenly got Coweta’s attention. Coweta responded with an 8-2 run to put the brakes on Tahlequah’s upset bid.
“You can’t build a 13-point hole against one of the top-ranked teams in the state,” Tahlequah coach Mike Leafgreen said.
It was Tahlequah’s slow start that hurt. Coweta led 17-8 at the end of the first quarter.
“They capitalized on it (our slow beginning),” Leafgreen added. “One we got past the first half, we were better.”
Lain Wright led Tahlequah (5-13, 2-6) with 17 points. Alberty added 11 and Jake Vader made nine.
Coweta (15-3, 8-0) was hard to guard because of so many potential scorers. Zach Norris. Norris, who has committed to Oklahoma Christian, tallied a game-high 19 points for Coweta. Austin Swboni added 10 and Ty Gunter hit nine.
TAHLEQUAH 55, COWETA 38 (GIRLS)
Tahlequah 11 17 13 14 55
Coweta 11 4 14 9 38
Tahlequah: O’Donnell 22, Beaston 12, Blevins 9, Hadley 6, Girdner 5, Wright 1.
Coweta: Kelley 10, Norton 8, Haas 4, Brewster 4, Whiteley 4, Elliott 2, Hummingbird 2, Erwin 2, Gonzales 2.
COWETA 55, TAHLEQUAH 45 (BOYS)
Tahlequah 8 10 17 10 45
Coweta 17 14 11 13 55
Tahlequah: Wright 17, Alberty 11, Vader 9, Cunningham 7, Dick 1.
Coweta: Z. Norris 19, Swboni 10, Gunter 9, Ross 8, C. Norris 5, Holmes 4.