By Mike Kays
PERKINS, Okla. —
Stillwater gave a scrappy effort, but the Pioneers — not quite as overmatched as they could have been — ended their season in a 59-50 first-round regional loss to Muskogee here Thursday night.
Dylan Fix’s 3 after both teams had missed a combined five shots out of the gate gave Stillwater (10-14) a 3-0 lead. It would be its only advantage.
Jada Ford’s 3 tied it with 5:53 to go in the quarter. Ford would finish the quarter with 10 of her game-high 22 points and Muskogee would never trail, up 19-9 after eight minutes of play.
Muskogee would never lead by more than 12, and any double-digit margin was short-lived.
Becca Worthy, one of four Stillwater players in double figures with 14 points, used the free-throw line to chip into that lead, hitting six of seven in the second quarter alone. Her last two tied the contest at 23 with 48 seconds until half. Aaliyah Wilson’s putback with 23.4 left regained the lead for the Lady Roughers (20-4), who held it from that point forward.
Still, the Lady Pioneers hung tough. They had another shot at a tie early in the third but what became huge in the second half — turnovers in the backcourt — began burying them.
Down 26-24, Danazia Brown stole an inbounds pass and fed to Trena Mims on a layup. The lead was only four, but it became one of eight Stillwater turnovers in the backcourt.
“They scattered us on what we were trying to do. They’re good guarding on the ball. That’s their style of play defensively and even if you have people are open it’s hard to see when you’ve got someone locked on you,” Stillwater coach Clay Stephens said.
Muskogee, playing with its starting post Lanice Rozell out with a sprained ankle suffered against Union last Friday, pushed the lead back to 41-33 in the period. Ford, who was 0-for-5 from the field in Stillwater’s second-quarter rally, had seven points in the quarter on 3-of-4 shooting.
“(Rozell) does a lot for them that isn’t in the boxscore but you could tell they were missing them. We were still a little overmatched but I think we played well all in all,” Stephens said.
Worthy didn’t hit a field goal until the fourth quarter. She was 2-of-9 on the night but 10-of-13 from the stripe. Lauren Stettnisch had 12 points, Ericka Stevenson had 11 and Fix had 10.
Muskogee advances to meet Union, a 79-49 winner against Sand Springs in the opener here Thursday. Those two meet at 1:30 Saturday afternoon. It’ll mark the third meeting between the two and a potential rubber match if the two don’t meet again.