By Chuck Reherman, Sports Editor – Norman held off a fourth quarter comeback bid and used the free throw line to their advantage to top Yukon 64-54, in a Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference game Tuesday night in Yukon.
The No. 16 ranked Millerettes, 1-1, had come into the game looking to make a statement to class 6A teams. YHS had their chances to upend No. 15 ranked Norman, were forced to foul late in the game and the Lady Tigers responded by sinking `12 of 14 attempts at the line.
Yukon hit eight of 12 shots from the line in the fourth quarter, but were only three of 11 from the field.
“Norman kind of hit us in the mouth in the first quarter,” Millerette coach Roy Wyckoff said. “We didn’t care of the basketball very well and knew they were going to pressure us. We just didn’t do a good job of blocking out and getting on the glass.
“But, once we calmed down and took care of the ball better in the second half and made a couple of little runs and cut it to three in the third quarter. Give them credit, they made some plays, we made some mental mistakes and missed some free throws and some block out,
“It was one of those things where when you get down like that and try to dig yourself out of a hole against a good team like Norman makes it tough.”
The Millerettes were down by 14, 38-24, in the third quarter, but went on an 11-0 run and got back into the game, 38-35.
Jules Martin hit a shot ion transition, Becka Cammon added a bucket in the lane and after forcing a Norman turnover, the Millerettes scored seven points in 14 seconds to cut the lead to 38-35.
Ashlynn Basler has launched a shot as the whistle blew and the officials called a technical foul on the Norman bench. After a conference, the officials counted the bucket and Basler went to the line and sank both free throws with 5:33 left in the third.
On the inbounds, Basler drove to the lane, put up a shot, made it and was fouled. She hit the free throw to cut the lead to three points.
A three-point play by Norman’s Nyah Henderson snapped the Millerette scoring string and started one for the Lady Tigers. Norman added a field goal and got another three-point play from Christina Shadid that put NHS back on top by 12, 47-35.
Treys from Meya Case and Basler cut the lead to 50-41, with 34 seconds left.
Basler hit a trey to open the fourth quarter and bring the Millerettes within six, 50-44. A second Case trey brought the Millerettes back within four, 52-48, with 5:48 remaining in the game.
Haley Hurst gave Norman a five-point lead with a jumper in the lane, 54-48.
Yukon tried to rush their game in the final four minutes, hitting only one shot from the floor. YHS was forced to foul and Norman hit their shots to put the game away.
Yukon had closed the lead to five, 59-54 after free throws from Kristen Readel and Cammon. Norman’s Kelbie Washington hit three of four free throws and Christina Shadid added two, to put the game away.
The Millerettes got off to a ragged start, hitting only three of 10 shots from the floor. Yukon did take a 2-1 lead, but a Shadid trey and a pair of Washington free throws opened a 10-4 Norman lead.
Norman pushed their lead to 12-4, then went on a 7-3 run to finish the quarter and opened a 19-7 lead.
“We didn’t respond well to Norman’s pressure in the first quarter,” Wyckoff said. “We have top our hat to them and then look in the mirror and say what didn’t we do well. We didn’t take care of the ball, we didn’t block out well. We will work on that tomorrow.
“We can’t spend too much time worrying on this one though, we have a tournament we have to start thinking about,” he said. “It stings, because we wanted to win this one because it is a conference game. So, we let it sting a little today and get ready tomorrow and go and try and win a tournament.”
Norman pushed their lead to 13, 28-15, early in the second quarter. The Millerettes did cut the lead back to eight on a Basler trey, but trailed 36-24 at the intermission.
Basler led the scoring with 19 points, hitting six of 15 shots from the floor and four of six at the line. Cammon added 14 points, Jaylee Watson eight and Case had six.
Yukon plays today in the Tahlequah Tournament, travels to Southmoore Tuesday and hosts Edmond Memorial on Friday. Both games tip-off at 6 p.m.