Piedmont claims area girls title over Shawnee

Brian Johnson
Shawnee News-Star, USA TODAY NETWORK
Shawnee's Tristyn Napier (15) kicks out a pass toward the top of the key as Piedmont's Delanie Crawford (10) looks on Thursday night in Class 5A area action in Piedmont.

PIEDMONT – An outstanding fourth-quarter comeback bid by the 11th-ranked Shawnee Lady Wolves fell just short as the third-ranked and host Piedmont Lady Wildcats held on for a 50-47 triumph Thursday to capture a Class 5A area title and a berth in next week's state tournament.

Piedmont (14-5) had a 42-27 advantage going into the fourth quarter before Shawnee (11-9) battled back to outscore the Lady Wildcats by a 20-8 margin in the fourth quarter.

“I'm really proud of our fight. We kept fighting and didn't give up,” said Shawnee head coach Wendi Wells.

The Lady Wolves will face 14th-ranked Altus Saturday for the area runner-up title. The winner of that game advances to state while the loser sees its season come to end. Altus knocked off 17th-ranked Noble 57-44 in an elimination game on Thursday.

Shawnee scored the first six points of the fourth quarter off a basket apiece from Aubrie Megehee (off a putback), Anneca Anderson (off a kick-out pass from Megehee) and Tristyn Napier to start making it interesting down the stretch.

But the problem for the Lady Wolves the entire night was free-throw shooting. The Lady Wolves were only 7 of 17 from the foul line for the game, including just 2 of 6 in the final 3:02.

Meanwhile, Piedmont was far from putting on a free-throw clinic as the Lady Wildcats were only 9 of 17.

Behind some solid fourth-quarter pressure defense and some offensive patience, Shawnee chipped away and made it downright scary for the Lady Wildcats in the final two minutes. The Lady Wolves went on an 11-4 run in the last 1:44 of the game.

Megehee's bucket clipped the deficit to eight with 1:44 to go. She later scored off a putback shot with 1:32 remaining and Kailey Henry hit the second of two foul shots to trim the Piedmont lead to 46-41 with 1:10 left.

Despite the Lady Wildcat foul-shooting woes, Piedmont did manage to convert all four of its charity tosses in the final 46 seconds – two each by Kaden Edwards and Jillian Crawford.

Napier scored off a drive to the basket with 38 seconds remaining to pull Shawnee within 48-43 and Megehee scored off a baseline drive with 15 seconds to pull the Lady Wolves within 50-45.

Megehee ultimately nailed a shot with three seconds to go to make it a three-point game, but Piedmont successfully inbounded the ball and ran out the clock.

Megehee and Napier tallied 14 points apiece for Shawnee as each finished 7 of 13 from the floor. Amaya Martinez chipped in seven points and eight rebounds. Kailey Henry followed with six points and five boards before fouling out.

Anderson supplied five points off the bench and Tatum Sparks rounded out the Lady Wolves' scoring with a single point. Sparks also hustled for seven rebounds. Henry and Megehee collected five boards apiece.

Jillian Crawford led the way for the Lady Wildcats with 15 points on 5 of 6 shooting, including three 3-point baskets. Khloe Carr, behind three treys of her own, ended up with 14 points. Piedmont star Delanie Crawford and Triniti Harmon finished with seven points each.

“I think we were really nervous to start the first half,” Well said. “I asked them before the game if they were nervous and most of the said they weren't. But after the game about 90% of them admitted it. These girls have never been in this situation before (at the area tournament). Hopefully, this will allow us to be ready to go on Saturday.”

Shawnee actually had more field goals than the Lady Wildcats (20-17), but Piedmont connected for seven 3-pointers to none for the Lady Wolves.

The Lady Wildcats shot 48.7% for the game while Shawnee shot at a 47.% clip.