Lady Wolves capture regional championship
The 11th-ranked Shawnee Lady Wolves took down the eighth-ranked Ardmore Tigers 39-33 to capture the Class 5A, Region 2 championship Saturday afternoon and defense was the name of this game.
“Our focus on defense lately, has been to make teams work to make plays instead of giving up easy baskets,” said Shawnee head coach Wendi Wells. “We played with a lot of confidence today.”
The first quarter of play proved just that. Shawnee’s defense didn’t surrender a point until the 24-second mark of the first when Ardmore’s Khalayah Willis hit a 3-pointer to cut the Shawnee lead to 5-3. The Lady Wolves' Anneca Anderson answered with a bucket with five seconds left to give Shawnee a 7-3 lead after the first quarter.
The Lady Wolves maintained the four-point advantage throughout the second quarter and did so primarily at the free-throw line. Shawnee went to the charity stripe eight times in the second quarter and hit 5 of the 8 tries. Aubrie Megehee scored five points in the second quarter and finished the half with seven for Shawnee. The Lady Wolves held an 18-14 lead at the end of the half.
In the third, the Shawnee's defense stayed intense and did not allow Ardmore room for comfort. The Lady Wolves held Ardmore to just seven third quarter points and built the lead up to 29-21 with one quarter left to play. Amaya Martinez added five points for the Lady Wolves' offense in the third, including a trey to open Shawnee’s scoring in the second half.
In the fourth, the Lady Wolves continued to play at a championship caliber and swelled the lead to 36-21 on a Megehee bucket with 3:30 left to play. Megehee led all scorers with 15 points in the contest. Two late 3's by Ardmore and three missed Shawnee free throws in the final two minutes of play made the final score seem much closer than it really was.
“I’m really proud of this group,” said Wells. “With the exception of Megehee, no one else has had any experience in a game like this (regional championship),” Wells added. “Playing shorthanded all season and having the girls playing in different roles really helped us to play with confidence and to get this win.”
Willis led Ardmore with 13 points and was the only Lady Tiger to score in double figures.
Kaily Henry joined Megehee in double figures with 10 points. Eight of Henry’s 10 points came from the free-throw line. Martinez and Tatum Sparks added five points each for the Lady Wolves.
The Lady Wolves will face host Piedmont Thursday at 6 p.m. in a Class 5A Area Tournament. Shawnee advances to state with a win. A Lady Wolves' loss means that Shawnee will have another chance at a state berth on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in Piedmont.