The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

March 6, 2014

Lady Panthers handle pressure in routing Caddo

OKLAHOMA CITY —  Pond Creek-Hunter senior Jade Jones said she could barely move in her first ever state tournament game last season, slowed to a crawl by a knee injury suffered the week prior.

In her second go-round, she hardly stopped.

Jones had 20 points and seven rebounds, leading Pond Creek-Hunter’s girls to their first-ever state tournament win, 59-30 over Caddo in Thursday’s Class A quarterfinal at the State Fair Arena.

Caddo opened with ball pressure and double teams from tipoff, trying to limit the damage from PC-Hunter ball-handlers and leading scorers Jones (22.1 points per game) and Tiarra Davis (12.1).

The literal ball traps were a figurative trap, but not as the Lady Bruins intended.

Caddo took its last lead with a basket early in the second quarter but hit only two more before halftime, giving way to 12 unanswered points for PC-Hunter as the Lady Bruins’ trapping defense backfired. Jones split a double team at the three-point line to assist a point-blank basket by Bailey White to reclaim the lead at 14-13. Jones drew another double on the next possession and passed out to Rylie Halcomb, who hit Davis for an open three.

Then a Davis layup through failed full-court pressure, 19-13.

Then another trap on the right wing, followed by four passes with another dribble and an uncontested Bria Taylor layup at the basket, 21-13.

Then a steal, and before Caddo’s press could react, a Halcomb three, 24-13.

Afterward, Jones stated the obvious: “I like it when people press us.”

“It opens up gaps for the other girls and for her to go to the basket,” added PC-Hunter girls coach Tasha Diesselhorst. “They don’t get scared when they see a press. They get excited.”

PC-Hunter hit 12-of-19 shots before halftime, most of them lightly challenged at most as the Lady Panthers took a 30-17 lead. Six-foot Caddo center Desiree Haugen was the Lady Bruins’ lone counter in the first two quarters, the junior hitting three of five attempts from the floor and providing open attempts from her teammates as PC-Hunter sunk its 2-3 zone in to cut off lanes to her. The rest of the Lady Bruins didn’t take advantage, shooting 3-for-15 overall and 1-for-10 from three before intermission.

PC-Hunter shut down both in the second half, holding Haugen scoreless on 0-for-5 shooting after the break and limiting the rest of Caddo’s roster to four baskets on 19 attempts.

The Lady Bruins had three straight turnovers to open the third quarter to allow another PC-Hunter run, that one a 7-0 spurt that ballooned the lead to 39-17 on a pair of Jones free throws. Caddo closed to within 39-23 to start the fourth quarter, but one last, decisive 14-1 run kept PC-Hunter comfortably ahead en route to their first semifinal appearance.

Davis scored nine of her 13 points before halftime, and White added 10 in the win, setting up today’s 9 a.m. state tournament rematch with top-ranked Cheyenne-Reydon, which eliminated the Lady Panthers in the quarterfinal round of last season’s Class A bracket.

“I’m excited,” said Jones, who was limited to nine points with a torn ACL in the Lady Panthers’ 51-41 loss to the Lady Bears last season. “I couldn’t move when we played them last year. I mean, they’re a good team, so we’ll still have to play well, but I like the matchup.”

Cheyenne-Reydon beat Sterling 49-43 in Thursday’s opening round, overcoming an early deficit behind Summer Pennington’s 22 points. It improved to 26-4 with the win, the second strongest record the now 26-1 Lady Panthers will have faced this season, and the first time they’ve played for a berth in the Class A title game.

Not that they’re keeping track.

“This is the most relaxed I’ve been all week,” said Diesselhorst, in her eighth year with PC-Hunter and on the longest playoff trip of her coaching career.

“No one here really thinks we’re gonna win state, so we’re not putting any pressure on ourselves,” Jones added. “We’re just having fun.”聸

1
Text Only
Sports
Click here for NASCAR headlines
Sports Photos


Enid News & Eagle sports photos from the month of February 2014. Enjoy all the ENE photos with full access at http://enidnews.smugmug.com.