By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
Photo: Morgan Miller, Staff
Sometimes you just have to look for silver linings. Tuesday night was one of those times as the #2 Muskogee Lady Roughers (15-2) handled #12 Sand Springs (12-5) 50-38.
Silver lining number one? It could have been a lot worse. The Lady Sandites got off to a very rough start and had to fight from deep in the hole, trailing by 10 after the first, 14 after the second, and 20 midway through the third.
A strong fourth quarter rally allowed the girls to close the gap to single digits at 47-38 before desperation fouls gave the visitors the 12-point win.
Silver lining number two? A lot of the girls who were having trouble executing in the last game and the start of this one finally seemed to rediscover their fire just in time for the last leg of conference battles before Regionals.
Silver lining number three? Standout junior Sydney Pennington's team-high 11 points were just enough to hit the 1000 mark for her career.
The first three points of the game for the Sandites were free throws as Muskogee trounced up and down the court for a 15-3 advantage before Coach Morrow pulled the entirety of the starting lineup and sent in his second string.
Selena Hitchcock shot the first two-pointer of the game for the home team, and the girls began to play solid defense, allowing only two more baskets before Morrow returned the starters midway through the second quarter.
From there the Sandites finally began to connect as Pennington and Holly Kersgieter both sank their first baskets of the night.
Muskogee came out of the half amped up and shot three straight before Pennington responded with a pair of signature transition layups. Jacie Taber, Cierra Scott, Isabella Regalado, and Destiney Johnson all joined in the scoring action to make the score 40-24 going into the final period.
Jada Ford dropped a three to start things off for the Lady Roughers, then Sand Springs went on an eight-point run before Leigh Westbrook sank a two to break things up. Pennington went two-for-two from the charity stripe, but time was nearly out and the girls had to resort to desperation fouls to try and nibble away at the 9 point deficit.
Unfortunately Muskogee sank three and didn't give Sand Springs a chance to score.
As much as nobody likes to lose, when it comes to the #2 team in the state, it wasn't out of the blue. The important thing is that the girls battled hard and got some much needed experience as we close in on the playoffs.
The Lady Sandites drop to 6th in Frontier Valley standings and will next take on the Bixby Lady Spartans in a Friday night home-coming rematch. The Spartans defeated Sand Springs 61-51 in the second game of the season.
In JV action, the girls improved to 7-3 for the season with a 49-48 win.