The Charles Page High School girls’ basketball team entered the season ranked first in Class 6A under first-year Head Coach Tobey Nightingale, thanks to a strong core unit of four returning starters, all signed to play collegiate sports. The Lady Sandites have won and lost the No. 1 ranking two seasons straight, but this year they got the target off their back early after a 74-62 season-opening loss to No. 18 Ponca City.
The loss couldn’t have come at a more opportune time as the Sandites can now identify their weaknesses and prepare for the conference games that are far more important in the scope of the season.
Free throws were the defining aspect of the game, as the two teams combined for 51 penalties. While the Wildcats were a deadly 33-of-37 at the charity stripe, the Sandites ended with 24 free throws on 35 attempts.
The two teams were evenly matched in the field. Sand Springs was better from outside the arc, while Ponca was better in the paint. The Sandites had the edge in offensive rebounds, but the Wildcats more than doubled their visitors in blocks and had the edge on steals as well.
University of Kansas-signed senior Holly Kersgieter led the Sandites with 29 points and ten rebounds, while sophomore standout Baylee Fincher led all scorers with 32 points. Reagan Padilla scored thirteen for Sand Springs, while Ponca had three players in double digits with eighteen from Ryley Beard and sixteen from Madison Birnbaum.
Kersgieter scored the first five points on a free throw and two layups. Ponca retaliated with a six point run, thanks to a six foul run from the Sandites, but Padilla hit the first three-pointer of the season to reclaim the lead. Destiny Johnson made her way into the scorebook for a 10-6 lead, the Wildcats tied it, then freshman Mikah Hampton made a pair of free throws followed by a Padilla layup.
Fincher tipped the tide in the Wildcats’ favor with a five point run to close the first period up 15-14. She hit a buzzer beater to end the stanza and started the second quarter with another deep three. The Lady Sandites held close throughout the remainder of the half and cut the deficit to 25-24 with a pair of free throws from Isabella Regalado, but Fincher continued her onslaught with five points on two field goals. The game tied once more at 30-30 but Beard finished the half with a deep ball.
The Wildcats forced their lead into double digits with a seven-point run to start the second half, but Kersgieter was a machine with twelve points in the quarter to cut it back to 49-44. She went on a seven point run in the fourth quarter to make it 54-53, but the Wildcats surged ahead with fourteen free throws for the double-digit win.
The Lady Sandites will look for redemption Friday night at 6:00 p.m. in their home debut against Frontier Valley Conference foe Muskogee High School.
PoHi 74 CPHS 62
1Q: PoHi 15-14
2Q: PoHi 18-16
3Q: PoHi 16-14
4Q: PoHi 25-18
Free Throws: PoHi 33-of-37, CPHS 24-of-35.
Field Goals: PoHi 17-of-45, CPHS 16-of-44.
Offensive Rebounds: CPHS 11, PoHi 6.
Defensive Rebounds: PoHi 17, CPHS 16.
Total Rebounds: CPHS 27, PoHi 23.
Steals: PoHi 17, CPHS 12.
Blocks: PoHi 7, CPHS 3.
Fouls: PoHi 28, CPHS 23.
Sand Springs Stats
Scoring: Kersgieter 29, Padilla 13, Regalado 7, Hampton 6, Johnson 4, Taber 3.
Offensive Rebounds: Kersgieter 4, Padilla 4, Taber 1, Regalado 1, Hampton 1.
Defensive Rebounds: Kersgieter 6, Taber 3, Burris 2, Padilla 2, Johnson 1, Regalado 1, Hampton 1.
Total Rebounds: Kersgieter 10, Padilla 6, Taber 4, Regalado 2, Burris 2, Hampton 2, Johnson 1.
Steals: Johnson 3, Hampton 3, Kersgieter 2, Taber 1, Regalado 1, Burris 1, Padilla 1.
Assists: Burris 2, Kersgieter 1, Johnson 1.
Blocks: Regalado 2, Kersgieter 1.
Fouls: Kersgieter 5, Regalado 5, Taber 4, Johnson 4, Padilla 2, Burris 2, Hampton 1.
Ponca City Scoring: Fincher 32, Beard 18, Birnbaum 16, Regnier 2, Wetzel 2, #22 2, Badley 2.