No team is as battle-tested as the Dale Lady Pirates. The No. 1 team in 2A held off Ada for a 49-48 win Friday night to claim the 2016 Bertha Frank Teague Mid-America Classic Title.

No team is as battle-tested as the Dale Lady Pirates. The No. 1 team in 2A held off Ada for a 49-48 win Friday night to claim the 2016 Bertha Frank Teague Mid-America Classic Title.

The title didn’t come easily. Dale beat Class B No. 1 Lomega 56-50 Wednesday night. They beat Class A No. 1 Seiling 50-43 Thursday night.

Friday night, the Lady Pirates beat 4A No. 3 Ada in their own hometown - leading for all but 5 seconds of the game.

“Not many teams have an opportunity to beat two number ones back to back and a number three two classes up,” said coach Josh Forsythe. “We had that opportunity and did it.”

Forsythe said winning the tournament – Dale’s second championship of the season – showed something about his team.

“It shows that these girls have a lot of character,” Forsythe said. “You know, things didn’t go well at times. You know, we are battling some things injury-wise. But they showed some guts and a lot of character and that’s what it takes to be a great team. That’s what I am proudest of – their character and toughness.”

Dale led 35-33 at the end of the third quarter. They had led the entire game thanks to a quick start by Claire Chastain who was battling two ankle injuries, and Hannah Ash – the tournament MVP.

Ada hit a three pointer to start the final period to take a 36-35 lead – their first of the game. But Taylor Thompson nailed her third shot from behind the arc to retake the lead for Dale. After a turnover gave Ada the ball back with Dale up two – Ash turned to her team and tried to encourage them.

“We’re okay,” Ash said, rallying her team. “We’re okay.”

The Lady Pirates got a stop on that possession and Chastain hit a three pointer before Ash scored again and Dani Manning scored on a spinning layup to extend the lead back to a more comfortable 47-36 in the fourth quarter.

But Ada fed off of the hometown crowd and rallied to end the game. The Lady Cougars struggled shooting in the first three periods, but in the fourth they nailed three shots from long range to cut the lead.

Ada closed the lead from 47-36 to 49-48 in the closing seconds. Dale had the ball and nine seconds left on the clock. After a couple of inbounds plays that resulted in fouls, Rylee Thompson was finally fouled after driving the ball across the half line. She missed the front end of a one and one but Ada had no timeouts and only 1.2 seconds left on the clock. They couldn’t get a shot off before the buzzer.

Ash said being named MVP of a tournament with three No. 1 teams and other top teams from several classes was “unreal.”

Manning said playing in tournaments like this was important to prepare the team for games late in the season.

“This shows that no matter what happen, we’ve got this,” said Manning, who joined Taylor Thompson on the All-Tournament team. “We’re going to pull together and we’ve got it.”

“We try to hold everything together,” Thompson said of the three seniors. “We’ve played together so long.”

All three seniors are looking forward to another shot at the state tournament where they lost in the semifinals last year.

“That’s why we’re here and we play the schedule we do,” Forsythe said. “Because you can pull from these and work on things you learn here.”

Dale improves to 13-0 on the season with wins over three number one teams and five top five teams.

They are back in action against Luther Tuesday before beginning play in the Kingston Tournament against Silo Thursday evening.