By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Spending the last month in a walking boot, about the only thing that Stillwater High School senior Callie Atkins could do in practice was shoot free throws.
That practice paid off as Atkins tallied a career-high 20 points — including 8 of 8 from the free-throw line — as the Lady Pioneers held off a late surge from Edmond North to beat the Lady Wolves 57-53 Friday at the Pioneer Fieldhouse.
“It’s like going back to the first game again,” Atkins said. “It’s great just being able to get out and play with my team. It’s just an awesome feeling. I wasn’t trying to make up for lost time. I just went out there and played my game. I just like being out there with my team and getting us a win.”
Atkins may have had the best game of her career in her first action since early December, but she didn’t do it alone.
Senior Jenny Scarbrough came up with a couple of huge rebounds and Austyn Iven knocked down a pair of free throws with just over a second left and Stillwater clinging to a two-point lead. Scarbrough finished with a team-high 6 rebounds, while Iven tallied 10 points.
“I thought this was just a good team win for us,” Stillwater coach Carl Treat said. “We had the lead up to nine at one point and then they tied it up and actually took the lead. We were able to get that lead back to nine because players like Callie and Jenny were able to pull down those rebounds and we were able to hit our free throws down the stretch.”
Led by Kayla Klaus’ 3-pointer with 5:31 left in the half Stillwater continued to light up the scoreboard from beyond the arc. Klaus finished with 7 points as Stillwater took a 26-19 lead at the half.
That’s where things started to turn for the Lady Pioneers.
Edmond North (3-7) opened the second half with an 8-0 run to take a 27-26 lead.
“We just forgot to do what we had done in the first half,” Treat said. “We had some senseless turnovers that led to points from them. We missed a couple of defensive assignments. Early in the third quarter, they hit a couple of shots because we didn’t rotate properly, but we did what we need to do.”
Stillwater retook the lead with the help of Atkins’ second 3-pointer of the game to take a 37-35 lead heading into the final quarter.
Again, Stillwater struggled to put Edmond North away as the Lady Huskies closed the gap to two with just under two minutes to play.
That’s when Atkins and Iven — two of the team’s senior leaders — coolly knocked down just enough free throws to keep Edmond North at a safe distance but not far enough away to send fans heading for the exits.