OKLAHOMA CITY — Josie Megehee scored 16 points to lead No. 2-ranked Bethel’s girls to a 42-28 victory over Alva in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament Thursday at the State Fair Arena.
The taller Lady Wildcats were able to take advantage of 19 offensive rebounds to end the Ladybugs’ season at 25-5. Bethel had a 18-4 advantage in second chance points.
“I’m very proud of them,’’ said Alva coach Kris Gore. “They superseded the expectations a lot of people had about us. There’s nothing to hang our heads about. They were just a tick better than us.’’
Lakin Gaddy was the lone Alva player in double figures with 11 points.
Bethel’s Parker Stevenson was only two of 13 from the field but grabbed 14 rebounds, including seven offensive boards. She had nine points. The Lady Wildcats had a 35-20 rebounding advantage.
The Ladybugs’ only lead was 16-15 to open the second quarter. Lakin hit a free throw with 3:40 left to tie the game for the last time at 17-17. Bethel answered with a 6-0 run as Alva did not score for the rest of the half.
Alva had cut the lead to two twice (23-21 and 25-23) after baskets by Gaddy and Kelln. A three by Gaddy with just over a minute to play in the quarter made it 31-27.
However, that would be the last points the Ladybugs would score from the field. Bethel scored five unanswered points in the last minute to go up 36-27. A free throw by Morgan Heath with 3:53 remaining were the only points Alva would make in the fourth quarter.
Alva was 11 of 34 from the field and three of eight from three-point range. Bethel was 16 of 49 from the field and two of 14 from 3-point range. The Lady Wildcats had only four turnovers to 11 for Alva.
“They are just more physical than us,’’ Gore said. “They were bigger and a little more faster. They played more aggressive which bothered us a bit.’’
The Lady Wildcats were successful at denying three-point shooter Carly Argo the ball. Gore said the Ladybugs did not set good screens for her. The Bethel inside players were able to push the smaller Ladybugs off the blocks.
Alva switched from a man-to-man to an inverted triangle and two which was effective in the first half but not so much after halftime when the Lady Wildcats began to pull away.
“They were able to exploit some of our weaknesses,’’ Gore said. “We will learn from this and move forward and try to get better in the off-season.’’
Alva, which was successful in drawing fouls at the Area Tournament, was only three of six from the charity stripe. Bethel was eight of 10.
The future is bright for the Ladybugs as the entire team returns. Heath and Carly Argo were the only junior starters.
“We have a good group of eighth graders coming up, which will give us even more depth,’’ Gore said. “I think this light a big fire under us to get back here. They got a taste of it and hopefully that will make them work harder in the off-season. I’m confident we can make that work.’’
Gore praised the Alva fans, which came out in large numbers Thursday.
“That’s one of the reasons I came to Alva (two years ago),’’ Gore said. “The support is great. This has been a fun bunch to coach. They have good chemistry and get along and did everything that I ask of them.
“My assistants (Megan Spray and Gretchen Jones) were phenomenal. They played against the girls in practice to simulate the opponent. They have a high basketball IQ. I couldn’t have done all of this without them.’’
Bethel will face defending state champion Jones, a 65-50 winner over Idabel, at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Kingfisher (24-3) will face Douglass (24-1) at 7 p.m. Friday in the Class 4A Semifinals at Yukon High School.
The two-time defending state champion Yellowjackets beat Stilwell, 52-28 in the first round Wednesday. Douglass beat OCS, 65-60.
“Douglass will be tough,’’ Kingfisher coach Jared Reese said. “They are super athletic.’’
The winner will face the Weatherford-Crossings Christian winner at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the State Fair Arena.
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