Lady Panthers win nail-biter, 37-35
By Justin Scrimshire
ONL Sports Reporter
On Tuesday, January 14th, the Lady Panthers played host to the Holdenville Wolverines. Ranked 15th in Class 2-A, Okemah seemed primed to roll past the 6-6 Wolverines but that turned out to not be the case, as the Lady Panthers needed every second of the 32-minute game to secure the victory.
During the first quarter there was a noticeable lack of energy inside the Tom Condict Panther Dome as both teams struggled offensively. The Lady Panthers were scoreless until the four-minute mark, when Sophie Turner banked a two-pointer. Jenna Berryhill gave Okemah two more points off a shot made on an offensive rebound. A slow start saw the first quarter come to an end with Okemah trailing 5-4.
Emma Vansant scored early in the second quarter to give Okemah the lead and Cameron Duncan scored shortly thereafter to extend the lead 8-5. Duncan would score 5-points in the second quarter and Jenna Berryhill added another basket, giving the Lady Panthers 9-points in the quarter, but Holdenville outpaced Okemah, hitting a couple of critical three-pointers and by halftime, the Lady Panthers trailed 13-19.
Holdenville opened up the third quarter with a quick score and their largest lead of the night, 13-21. From there, the Wolverines were held to only four more points for the rest of the quarter as Okemah clawed their way out of the deficit.
After the opening score from Holdenville in the third quarter, the Lady Panthers went on a 17-4 run over the Wolverines. The energy that was lacking early in the game began to grow as the crowd fed the momentum that carried Okemah back into the lead.
Cameron Duncan scored 5-points, visiting the free throw line on three separate occasions after being fouled. Sophie Turner added 7-points, including a three-pointer that gave Okemah the lead late in the third. Abby Harelson scored 4-points as well and Emily Harris capped off the run with a shot under the basket on an offensive rebound.
Holdenville managed to score as the third quarter came to a close, but the damage had been done and the Lady Panthers took a 30-25 lead heading into the final quarter.
Sophie Turner scored to begin the fourth quarter and was fouled a short time later, adding an additional point at the free throw line and giving Okemah their biggest lead of the night, 33-25. Holdenville closed the gap completely however, going on a 10-2 run over the final minutes of the game, with Okemah’s two-points being scored by Jordy Tilley.
As the last few remaining seconds ticked away, Sophie Turner drew a foul and was sent to the foul line with the game tied, 35-35 and five seconds left on the clock. Turner nailed both of her free throws, giving Okemah the lead, 37-35 and ultimately the victory as Holdenville was not able to score in the final few seconds of the game.