CATOOSA — One win down and two wins to go.
That’s the scenario for Dale’s girls after a 43-27 riddling of Caney Valley Thursday night in a Class 2A area tournament opener.
Dale must win two more area matchups, beginning with Luther at 1:30 today, to advance to next week’s state tournament.
Luther inflicted a 48-45 regional overtime defeat on Dale last Friday night to put the Lady Pirates within one loss of elimination.
Dale’s defense allowed Caney Valley just two points in both the first and second quarter for a 26-4 halftime margin.
Fifteen Lady Pirates were employed by coach Josh Forsythe with 10 scoring. Dale’s starters were benched by the middle of the third quarter, accounting for Caney Valley’s 17-6 advantage in the fourth quarter.
Mikayla Rutland had a hot shooting hand, converting five 3-point field goals and finishing as the leading scorer with 19. Jacie McClure also had a 3-pointer.
Rutland topped the rebounding charts with seven. Claire Chastain notched 4 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks.
Lindy Nowakowski came in with 4 points, 2 steals and 2 blocks, while Lacey Savage posted 5 points and 3 steals.
“We came out and really played well from the start,” Forsythe said. “We had an unbelievable defensive performance the first half. Offensively, we took care of the ball and executed on offense.”
Luther posted a Thursday win over Wyandotte.
“We must take care of the ball better against Luther than we did in the loss,” Forsythe said. “We also have to shoot free throws better.”
Dale hit just 9 of 20 free throws as Luther snapped a Lady Pirate five-game win streak.
Caney Valley ended the season at 20-7.