Dale teams cruise to big regional routs

Brian Johnson
Sports Editor
Dale’s Jacie McClure (4) launches a 3-point shot between Wright City defenders Briley Walker (15) and Santanna Bunch (14) Thursday night at Dale.

DALE – Relentless defense by the fifth-ranked Dale Lady Pirates enabled them to shake off a sluggish first quarter and roll to a 74-22 rout of Wright City in a Class 2A regional winners’ bracket game Thursday night.

The third-ranked Dale boys, behind a usual balanced attack, shot 55.8% from the field and smashed Wynnewood, also in a regional winners’ bracket contest Thursday.

Both Dale teams advance to the regional finals Saturday at home as they take on Luther. The girls game begins at 6:30 p.m. with the boys to follow at 8 o’clock.

DALE 74, WRIGHT CITY 22 (Girls)

It’s hard to believe but the Lady Pirates led just 4-3 after the first quarter and turned it on with 70 in the three remaining periods.

Dale, 18-8 on the season, forced a whopping 35 turnovers and collected 24 steals with Mckenzie Gill totaling four while Danyn Lang, Emilia Idleman, Makenzy Herman and Brook Rutland had three each. In all, 11 Lady Pirates had at least one steal as they smothered the Lady Jax the entire night.

“Intensity-wise, we played better defensively but we couldn’t make a shot in the first quarter. There was a lid on the basket,” said Dale girls’ head coach Eric Smith.

Lid indeed...with 2:36 to go in the opening quarter it was 1-0 in favor of Wright City as the Lady Pirates missed their first nine shots while the Lady Jax came up empty on their first eight tries.

Two free throws by Lang broke the scoreless streak with 1:19 to go in the first. Elaine Witt later hit a shot at the buzzer to make it 4-3.

The rest of the game belonged to Dale as it tallied the first six points of the second quarter while going on a whopping 23-3 scoring blitz in building a 27-6 halftime cushion.

Reserve Miya Miller accounted for four of the six points to launch that second period and Rutland drained a pair of free shots as the Lady Pirates went up 10-3.

Leading 15-6, Dale went on a 12-0 spurt to end the half with a 3-pointer and a layup coming from Justyce Shirey, along with a bucket each from Witt, Idleman and Miller. Idleman’s basket was a trey as the Lady Pirates cruised on to the 21-point halftime lead.

Dale went on to outscore Wright City, 30-12 in the third and 17-4 in the fourth.

Thirteen players got into the scoring column for the Lady Pirates as Rutland netted 10, McClure and Lang finished with nine each and Witt and Herman ended up with eight apiece. Miller, Idleman and Bell each had six off the bench.

“The bench came in and gave us a spark tonight,” Smith said.

Santanna Bunch and Zoe Spears were the high scores for Wright City with six each.

DALE 85, WYNNEWOOD 46 (Boys)

Once again the Pirates unleashed balanced scoring on its opponent. This time the Wynnewood Savages were the victims.

Trae Thompson posted up for 16 points, Brady Johnson followed with 13, Ike Shirey added 12 and Palmer Jones finished with 11 as Dale, leading by a slim 19-15 margin after one quarter, staged a 26-11 second-quarter run to make it a rout.

“We’ve had six different players lead us in scoring this year and its hard for opponents to key on just one,” said Dale boys’ head coach Jeff Edmonson. “These guys are all so unselfish. They don’t care who scores as long as we score.”

Carter Crowe, off the bench, came close to double figures with nine. Connor Kuykendall had seven and Kash Vanbrunt ended up with six as 10 Pirates got into the scoring column.

Leading 21-18 early in the second, Dale scored 10 unanswered points in the midst of 20-3 spurt to pull away.

An old-fashioned 3-point play by Thompson ignited that huge surge as he was 6-of-8 from the floor on the night while going 4-of-6 from the line. Jones followed with a Euro-step layup and then after a free-throw miss, the Pirates went on to nail five straight charity tosses, including two each from Shirey and Jones to make it 31-18.

After a trey by the Savages, Dale tallied 10 more points with Shirey having five of those off a 3-pointer and layup off a Jones steal and assist. That play led to a 41-21 lead with 1:46 remaining before halftime.

The advantage was 45-26 at the break for the Pirates.

Dale went on to increase the lead to 67-40 by the end of the third quarter.

“Our defense was good. We forced some turnovers (17),” Edmonson said. “It got pretty physical and as a result we got to the free-throw line 33 times (making 23).”

TJ Grove had a game-high 18 points for Wynnewood. However, the next high for the Savages were Danchez Patterson and Zack Ray with eight apiece.