By John Martin
The defending State Class 6A Champion Choctaw Yellowjackets saw their early season, five-game winning streak come to a halt Saturday night with a 49-33 loss to host Harrah in the finals of the Panther Classic.
The Lady Jackets dealt Harrah its only loss of he 2016-17 State Championship season in the finals of the Classic a year ago, but a combination of Harrah’s torrid three-point shooting and some tough defense spelled defeat for the CHS girls.
In all, the Harrah girls sank 9 treys in the contest while Bailey Golden had Choctaw’s lone three-pointer in the second period.
Jordan Saxton led the Choctaw scoring with 10 points while Golden had nine in her head-to-head battle with fellow All-Star and former traveling team companion Erika Ankney who finished with 12.
Golden’s trey at the 3:54 mark of the second period narrowed the Harrah lead to 7 but Kiara Lovings answered with a trey for Harrah and a corner shot by Jordan Saxton was answered by a bucket by Ankney as Harrah had a 28-18 halftime advantage.
The Jackets got to within 8 twice in the third period but a trey by Ankney and a layup by Lovings pushed the Harrah lead to 14.
Maykayla White had eight points for the Jackets and Aliyah Llanusa and Crusoe rounded out the scoring.
BAILEY GOLDEN tallied 10 of her game-high 17 points in the second half including a pair of treys in the fourth quarter as the Lady Jackets finally shook off St. Mary’s for a 63-37 decision in the semifinals.
The Lady Rockets’ Mattie Rischard tallied 17 points in the game, 10 of them in the first half as the Choctaw lead was just 25-16 at halftime. But Aliyah Llanusa and her mates put the clamps on as the Jackets pumped in 40 points in the second half while limiting the Rockets to just 21.
Meanwhile Golden had two treys and two field goals, Llanusa added a pair of treys and a field goal and Makayla White had 9 of her 11 points after intermission. Jordan Saxton added 12 points and joined with White in controlling the backboards, Llanusa finished with 10 and MacKenzie Crusoe had six for the defending 6A state champions.
Trinity Golden, Alyssa Banks and Haylee Whitaker finished off the scoring for Ryan Maloney’s girls.
THE LADY JACKETS breezed through first round action in the Classic with a 67-21 victory over Harrah JV as Ryan Maloney emptied his bench early and often.
In just over a quarter of play, Bailey Golden and Jordan Saxton led the scoring for the No. 1 ranked, defending 6A State Champions with 11 points each. Makayla White, Trinity Goodson and Kayeton Payne each added 7 points and Avery Clark and Aliyah Llanusa each had six.
All 16 girls on the roster saw considerable action in the contest in which the Lady Jackets tallied 25 points in the first quarter before Maloney started sprinkling in the reserves.
The Lady Jackets will rebound from the loss to Harrah with two road games before the Christmas break. On Friday they will journey to Lawton to test Eisenhower and then conclude the 2017 part of their season with a trip to Enid.