By Chuck Reherman, Sports Editor – Yukon opened the Roy Wyckoff era on a successful note Tuesday night.
But, it wasn’t easy.
Yukon had to rally from an early fourth quarter deficit and made key free throws down the stretch to beat Moore, 49-42, in a Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference game at YHS.
The Millerettes gave Wyckoff his first career win as a high school head coach.
Moore had taken a 35-32 lead with 5:56 remaining in the game (the Lady Lions first lead of the game). MHS led 36-34 before the Millerettes regained the lead for good on a Jules Martin trey, 37-36 with 3:32 remaining.
“The most important thing was we start 1-0,” Wyckoff said. “I am really proud of the way the girls finished the game. It was obviously an ugly game, a grind it out game. We didn’t take care of the ball, we didn’t contain the ball and we didn’t rebound very well.
“The good news is, we got a win,” he said. “Good news, there is a lot of room for improvement. I think what happened was we walked into the gym, they were excited, we had a good summer and a good pre-season, there were 500 to 600 hundred people here, the popcorn was popping and they just got a little tight.
“I think they reverted to some bad habits, But, what I was proud of, is that even in the midst of that, they still grinded it out, came together and made enough plays at the end to get the win.
“We still have a lot to work on, but getting that first one out of the way, hopefully we will able to calm down. I feel like a lot of our mistakes were made from poor decisions. We just made a poor decision when we shouldn’t have thrown the pass or were late with it. We got a little panicky because we were nervous and tight.
“But, that was to be expected, some of them have not played varsity basketball and the ones that haven’t had as much success.
“They were a little tight and put pressure on themselves. But 1-0 relieves that pressure.”
A Becka Cammon shot in the lane opened a three-point lead, then Martin followed with a second trey and hit two free throws to open a 44-37 lead with 1:12 remaining.
The Lady Lions did cut the lead to 44-40 with 39 seconds remaining. But, Moore was forced to foul.
Cammon hit two free throws to extend the lead to 46-40 and Sydney Brown and McKenzie Brown added free throws in the closing seconds to put the game out of reach.
“Moore had a couple of girls that could really play,” Wyckoff said. “That No. 4 (Ashanti Day), the point guard was tough to keep out of the paint. So, I am mad at our girls for fouling her too much and not keeping her out front. But, our scouting report was she was really good in the paint.
“They had a couple of other girls that could really shoot it and their big freshman, she has a chance to be special,” he said. ‘I think Moore is going to win a lot of games, so getting a win against them, even though I felt like we still struggled, I am very encouraged by that.
“When Moore got the lead, I felt like our body language and demeanor was oh shoot, we are going to mess around and lose our first game. It is a good thing they have high expectations for themselves. After a time out, we came back and hit some shots, made some plays and calmed down and did enough to win the game.”
The Millerettes, after missing some early shots, reeled off a 9-2 run in 4:30 of the first quarter to open a 12-5 lead. Moore did hit three free throws in the closing minute and cut the lead to 12-8.
A steal and a lay-up from Kristin Readel opened a 14-8 lead 28 seconds into the second quarter and sparked an 8-0 run that sent the Millerettes to a 20-8 lead. But, the Millerettes did not score in the last 3:20 of the quarter and led 20-12 at the intermission.
Moore did score the first four points of the third quarter to cut the lead to 20-16. A Meya Case trey opened a 25-18 Millerette lead with 4:31 remaining in the quarter.
Moore cut the lead to 25-22. Ashlynn Basler hit a trey to open a six-point lead, but the Lady Lions went on a 7-2 run to close the quarter and cut the lead to 30-29.
“We had a couple of seniors that came through at the end,” he said. “They had been in situations like that and they stepped up. It was good to have that senior leadership.
“Some of our younger girls, the lights were bright tonight,” he added. “We know they can do good things, but, they had that oh shoot look.
“I am super proud of them winning and I told them in the locker room that it is kind of like life. If life was pretty and easy, it wouldn’t be that special. The fact that it is up and down and you have to overcome adversity, makes it special. You never want to struggle, but when you do and still come through and get a win, that is important to know that we can struggle and still beat a good team.”
Cammon led the Millerette scoring with 12 points, hitting four of 13 shots from the field and two of three at the line. Basler added nine points, Martin had eight and Readel six.
The Millerettes will host Norman in a 6 p.m. game Tuesday.