Clutch 3-pointers lift Fort Gibson girls to Jerry O'Quin tourney title
BY JOHN D. FERGUSON World Correspondent
Sunday, December 09, 2012
12/09/12 at 5:54 AM
INOLA - It seemed every time Fort Gibson needed a 3-point basket Saturday night, junior Savannah Gray provided one.
Gray's 12 points did not lead the Tigers' boxscore, but it was enough to help win the Jerry O'Quin tournament girls basketball championship 49-43 over Verdigris before 500 in the Inola Indoor Sports Arena.
The game featured two undefeated clubs at 5-0. It was close throughout the hard-fought contest with 19 lead changes and five ties. Fort Gibson did not put the game away until the final minute.
"We knew we were playing a real good 3A team," Gray said of Verdigris. "We had to try our best."
Gray has the green light to shoot from 3-point range and was forced into that role because teammate Allie Glover was often double-teamed. Glover still managed 11 points, but Gray's 4-of-5 shooting from behind the arc was a good balance to keep the Cardinal defense honest.
"They were guarding one of our best shooters and I knew I had to step up," Gray said.
While Glover and Gray combined for 23 points, teammate Brooke Palmer had a team-high 14. Palmer and Glover were selected to the All-Tournament team along with Baileigh O'Dell and Stacia Payne of Verdigris and Taylor McElhaney of Oologah.
"I was nervous at first, but we pulled out with the win," Glover said. "We have a team full of shooters. If I can't hit, there's always someone to step up and do the job."
Verdigris was not an easy foe. O'Dell tallied a game-high 15 points and hit 7-of-12 shots from the field. Courtney Risenhoover added 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
The Cardinals led 43-42 with 2:42 left in the game. Gray answered with a 3-point basket with 1:37 left to give Fort Gibson the lead for good. That was the third time in the contest that a Gray 3-pointer grabbed the lead for the Tigers.
Verdigris battled back from a five-point deficit at halftime (27-22) thanks to a Taylor Beck 3-pointer and two baskets by O'Dell and one by Camry Collins.
However, the Cardinals did not score in the last 2:42 as a turnover and missed shot was all they could muster.
Verdigris 54, Tahlequah Sequoyah 48 (boys): The 6-0 Cardinals jumped out to an 11-2 lead, but Tahlequah Sequoyah rallied to keep it close and even claimed the lead before the end of the third quarter.
But Verdigris had too much balanced scoring, led by guard Cade Upshaw's 15 points. Blake Battenfield added 11 while Brad Combs tallied 10. Upshaw and Battenfield were selected to the All-Tournament team.
The 3-2 Indians got 15 points from B.J. Leach and 13 from Ryan Helsley, who also made the All-Tournament squad.
Fort Gibson's Jordan Hill and Inola's Taylor Mootry also landed the All-Tournament team.
FORT GIBSON 49, VERDIGRIS 43 (girls)
Verdigris: O'Dell 15, Risenhoover 12, Payne 7, Beck 5, Collins 4.
Fort Gibson: Palmer 14, Gray 12, Glover 11, Hill 6, Johnson 4, Parker 2.
VERDIGRIS 54, TAHLEQUAH SEQUOYAH 48 (boys)
Tahlequah Sequoyah: Leach 15, Helsley 13, Herron 9, Hammer 8, McClure 3.
Verdigris: Upshaw 15, Battenfield 11, Combs 10, Monroe 7, Bryant 5, Brasher 4, Hundley 2.
Original Print Headline: Clutch shots lift Fort Gibson girls to tourney win