By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Timberlake’s girls could savor their championship at the Pond Creek-Hunter Tournament Sunday.
The Lady Tigers, ranked No. 7 in Class B, beat two top 10 teams in winning the championship: Deer Creek-Lamont, No. 10, Class B, 42-39 Thursday and Pond Creek-Hunter, No. 7 Class A, 51-45 in the finals Saturday.
The finals win broke a four-game losing streak to the Lady Panthers, including a 61-42 loss in the 2011 PC-Hunter Tournament fin-als.
“We’re pretty excited about it,’’ said Timberlake coach Kale Pierce. “We felt like we competed this year. I didn’t feel like we competed last year (in the finals). They handled us pretty good.
“It wasn’t a revenge thing for us. We wanted to improve first. The girls knew it was time to get it done, and they had the ability to do it. They just got it done.’’
Hailey Parker led the offensive attack in the championship with 14 points, followed by Kayla Castle with 11, Kylee Severin with 9, Karly LeForce with 8, Ami Adkisson with 5 and Bailee Clift with 4.
Timberlake outscored Pond Creek-Hunter 13-8 in the final period, after the Lady Panthers had out-scored the Lady Tigers 19-15 in the third period to cut the lead to 38-37.
“The first half (23-18) we did a good job defensively,’’ Pierce said. “In the third quarter, we let (Pond Creek-Hunter’s Jade) Jones get away from us. Our post girls (Parker and Clift) got a lot more aggressive in the fourth quarter, and that made a big difference. I couldn’t ask for a better job defensively on Jones than Karly did in the fourth quarter.’’
Pierce felt the Lady Tigers could score inside on Pond Creek-Hunter. He said the inside players weren’t aggressive enough early.
“The first three times Clift touched it, she didn’t even look at the basket,’’ Pierce said. “I want her to be unselfish, but sometimes she needs to be more selfish. She got a big offensive rebound and putback in the fourth quarter. We’re counting on her to score. She’s more than capable of doing that.’’
The 5-foot-10 Parker was able to use her size more in the second half. The guards were getting her the ball “deeper where she could go scored ... she has taken advantage of the opportunities she’s gotten.’’
The Lady Tigers might have actually been more relaxed against Pond Creek-Hunter than they were Thursday against DCLA, whom they defeated three times last season.
“Sometimes, you play a little tight when you know it’s a game you should win,’’ Pierce said. “We were a little looser against Pond Creek-Hunter. It was one of those deals where you didn’t have the expectation of winning as much. We hadn’t beaten them yet.
“I hope the girls continue to play loose. I’m trying to get them to enjoy it. The whole point of working hard is to be successful.’’
The 7-0 Lady Tigers are ahead of where they were last year at this time (4-2). Timberlake avenged last year’s 49-40 loss to Waukomis (No. 20, Class A), 64-62 in two overtimes.
“We feel fortunate to be where we’re at,’’ Pierce said. “Waukomis has always been a tough matchup for us because of their size. Our guards (Severin, LeForce, Castle and Adkisson) played well. It’s always tough to win at their place. We’re definitely better at this point than we were last year.’’
Timberlake won nine straight games before concluding a 20-7 season with a 49-41 loss to Red Oak in the first round of the Class B state tournament.
Timberlake has been known for its balance. Parker is the top scorer with a 10.9 average, followed by Castle at 10.3, Severin at 8.6, Adkisson at 8.0, Clift at 6.6 and LeForce at 53.
Castle and Severin “have both picked up where they left off last year,’’ Pierce said. “Kayla has been more consistent. Kylee does so many other things for us.’’
Severin is the team’s second leading rebounder and leads the team in assists.
“She’s the type of kid that can facilitate the best out of everybody else,’’ Pierce said.
LeForce has made a successful transition from sixth woman to starter. She is known for her hustle and defense. Pierce calls her the team’s “spark plug.’’
Adkisson, a transfer from Cimarron, has been “a nice addition ... she’s fitting in real well and is happy to be around a team that has had success,’’ Pierce said.
Haley Blewitt and Cidney Thompson have given Pierce quality minutes off the bench.
“Success builds on itself,’’ said Pierce, whose team is seeking a third-straight trip to state. “The young kids have brought into what we’re doing. The older kids show them how to do it. They worked hard over the summer to get better.’’
Timberlake will host Waynoka tonight.