Lady Panthers cruise to a 2-0 start
By Justin Scrimshire
ONL Sports Reporter
Through the first two games of the season, the Lady Panthers are building a reputation as being greedy, stingy and merciless on defense. They can drop over 60 points on offense too. The 2022-23 basketball season has gotten off to a fast start for the Lady Panthers under new coach Gary Kennemer.
Okemah opened their season last Tuesday at home against the Class-B Paden Lady Pirates and jumped out to an early 11-0 lead as Maddie Gaxiola, Raven Deer and Addy Bean continually intercepted and stripped the ball away from Paden’s offensive drives. The Lady Panthers closed out the first quarter with a 15-5 lead over Paden.
The second quarter was a little quieter on offense as Okemah only scored on two separate occasions, with three points coming from Meranda Switch and two points from Raven Deer. However, the defensive steals continued to pour in for the Lady Panthers as they held Paden to just three points in the second quarter, taking a 20-8 lead into halftime.
Paden entered the second half with a stronger showing, closing the Lady Panther’s lead to seven points before Meranda Switch closed out the third quarter with six unanswered points, giving Okemah a 29-16 lead entering the final quarter.
With their defensive dominance and steals continuing through the second half, Okemah added twelve more points in the fourth quarter, to secure a 41-23 lead over the Lady Pirates. The Lady Panthers then hosted Class 4-A McLoud.
Raven Deer scored the first five points of the game as the Lady Panthers opened the first quarter with a 9-0 run. McLoud never advanced the ball beyond half-court for the first minute and thirty seconds as the Lady Panther defense went to work in a hurry, overturning McLoud’s early possessions.
Okemah allowed just three points in the first quarter as they took a 21-3 lead into the second quarter as Meranda Switch, Raven Deer, Elaine Berryhill and Addy Bean all collected a turnover against McLoud.
The offensive and defensive dominance continued through the second quarter as Okemah outscored McLoud 24-5 and Maddie Gaxiola jumped on the turnover train with defensive steals of her own. The Lady Panthers took a 45-8 lead over McLoud into halftime.
McLoud began to find offensive success in the third quarter, adding 13 points to the board, but the Lady Panthers continued to outmatch McLoud, adding 16 points of their own and held a 61-21 lead going into the final quarter.
With the game well in hand, the Lady Panthers had no reason to panic as McLoud scored 12 points compared to their 5 points in the final minutes of play. In the end, Okemah walked away with a 66-33 lead over McLoud.
The Lady Panthers will take the court again on Thursday, Dec 8 when they host Seminole at 7 p.m. during the Okemah Invitational.