Deer Creek dethrones Shawnee
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Sunday, March 10, 2013
3/10/13 at 5:39 AM
Only 20 seconds remained and the game was well in hand, but the Deer Creek Antlers were still fighting and clawing for loose balls.
"We wanted to make sure we had that gold ball in our hands," senior forward Ashley Gibson said.
Oklahoma has a new Class 5A basketball champion. The second-ranked Antlers made sure of that Saturday by dethroning No. 1 Shawnee in the championship game before about 4,000 spectators at the Mabee Center.
Gibson, Bayli Blanchard and Dakota Vann combined for 51 points and 20 rebounds as the Antlers avenged a 65-51 loss in Shawnee on Dec. 11.
"We wanted another shot at them," said Gibson, who had a game-high 21 points, three rebounds and three steals.
"They played hard, but we wanted them again."
Deer Creek (27-3) shot 54.8 percent (17-for-31) and whipped the Wolves (26-3) on the boards in capturing their third gold ball to go with titles in 2006 and 1996.
The Antlers rolled to a 41-27 lead while going 7-for-9 from the field in the third quarter, and went to work at the foul line when Shawnee came back to make it a game.
The Wolves closed to within 46-43 with 1:59 left, but couldn't get any closer, and Deer Creek salted it away on free throws. They were 13-for-14 from the line over the final 1:41 and 23-for-26 for the game.
"We said, `Let's keep our composure and shoot some free throws'," head coach Totsy Manning said.
Manning said her team learned from the previous loss to Shawnee.
"People talk about good losses and that was a good loss. It showed us some things we needed to improve. It made our kids learn to be more focused and patient, and learn to execute a game plan," she said.
Gibson totaled 21 points, three rebounds and three steals. Blanchard had 16 points and eight rebounds and Vann had 14 points, nine rebounds and three steals.
Bailey Taylor scored 19 and Micaela Yu had 12 to pace the Wolves, who had defeated East Central in last year's championship game.
Manning knew Shawnee's late run would come. The Wolves used an 11-2 surge to make it 46-43 on a foul shot by Shaiann Tramble with 1:59 left, and could have gotten closer after a Deer Creek turnover.
But the Wolves missed two shots in a wild flurry before Van rebounded and cashed two free throws to make it 48-43. She made two more 19 seconds later when the powerful, 5-foot-11 Yu fouled out, and the Wolves were off and running.
Mike Brown 918-581-8390
Edmond Deer Creek players celebrate their win over Shawnee for the Class 5A girls state title Saturday at the Mabee Center. JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World