By JASON EPP
Thanks in part to 65 percent shooting in the second half the Forgan Lady Bulldogs pulled away fro the Caney Lady Cougars to win 51-45 in the first round of the Class B state tournament in Choctaw, Oklahoma.
“I extremely excited for the girls,” said Lady Bulldogs coach Brett Trippet. “They fought hard. We played really good defense and shut down their strengths to make them earn every bucket.”
The first half was a see-saw battle that includes seven ties and two lead changes.
Forgan found made shots hard to come by, and trailed 10-9 after one quarter of play.
Forgan took the lead at 16-14 on back-to-back baskets by Miranda Lopez, but Kassi Baughman tied the game at 20 with a buzzer-beating jumper.
The Lady Bulldogs were only 9 of 29 from the field at the half, including 1 of 7 from three-point distance. Meanwhile, Caney was 10 of 16 from the field over the same time frame.
Samantha Leisher hit her second and third three’s of the game to help Forgan start the second half with a 10-4 run. Kenzi Taylor scored a traditional three-point play, and Forgan led 39-32 after three.
A Miranda Lopez layup gave the Lady Bulldogs their largest lead of the game at nine, but Caney answered with an 8-0 that made the score 41-40 in favor of Forgan with 3:50 left in the game.
Forgan answered right back with their own 8-0 run that included all four of Jaci McGill’s points. McGill struggled shooting, but led the team in many other ways.
“Jaci handled the ball real well against a good defense,” said Trippet. “She was a great leader and defender tonight.”
Baughman cut the lead back to five with a late three, but could get no closer.
Forgan was 11 of 17 from the field in the second half, and made 7 of 11 free throws over the same period. Caney did not help themselves going 2 of 15 from the arc and only 3 of 11 from the charity stripe.
Kenzi Taylor was 7 of 13 from the field for 19 points. Samantha Leisher scored 11 including three threes; Miranda Lopez added 10, and Lindsey Trippet 7.
The loss was only Caney’s second of the season (31-2). Forgan advances to the quarter finals at the State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City, also known as “The Big House”, where they will face No.1 Cyril, Friday at 7 p.m.
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