Despite not practicing for a week and not having played a game in nearly a month, the Stillwater High girls’ basketball team won its second game of the season Friday.
It was only their fourth contest of the season. The previous three were played in early December, and two of those were at the Cleveland Tournament before the Lady Pioneers were shut down because of COVID-19.
Their lone home game for December was postponed until later this season. They hadn’t practiced since Jan. 2, but returned to the court Friday for the first time and won their game.
Stillwater played Tulsa Memorial in the consolation round of the Bartlesville Tournament, and won, 54-49, despite missing about half of the team due to COVID. The Lady Pioneers are 2-2 on the season and will face Del City at 1 p.m. Saturday in the fifth-place game.
“We were really excited to get the win,” SHS girls’ basketball coach Kendra Kilpatrick said. “To come in shorthanded and still get the win is great. It was great experience for a lot of those girls.”
Kilpatrick talked to the tournament organizer and they allowed her to basically forfeit the first-round game Thursday without taking a loss. Since they were able to resume playing basketball Friday, Stillwater didn’t have to exit the tournament.
Instead, the Lady Pioneers traveled to Bartlesville missing six seniors Friday and earned a victory.
“We got quarantined and couldn’t play that Saturday game,” Kilpatrick said. “Then we got quarantined again at the end of our Christmas break practices, so Jan. 2 we got put into quarantine. So, it’s been interesting. We didn’t practice yesterday because we were still quarantined. The girls have been in quarantine for seven days, and we’ve had only four girls in the gym.
“I told the kids we have the opportunity to play, so we’re going to go play. If we can get five girls, we’re going to take five girls and we’re going to play, because the girls have worked so hard and they deserve to play.”
Junior guards Jayden Mason and Chrissen Harland scored the majority of the team’s points Friday. Mason scored 21 points, while Harland added 20 despite foul trouble during the game. Senior Claudia Vanzant also scored nine points.
“Jayden played the whole game and she had a huge game for us,” Kilpatrick said. “She didn’t shoot particularly well from the free throw line, but finished with 21, which is a career high for her. She played great. She handled their pressure extremely well, and she played aggressive and didn’t back down.
“Chrissen also played really well. She had a lot of points that came on crashing the rebounds, plus shooting the 3. She did a good job at the foul line.”
It was Harland and Vanzant’s foul trouble in the second half, that allowed Memorial to make the game close. Stillwater led by 14 at one point, but its depleted bench struggled to keep that lead with two key players sitting.
“Everybody got in and everybody played,” Kilpatrick said. “We had a few girls contribute just two points, but without those, we don’t win. It was a really good win for us.”
Stillwater will face a Del City squad that entered the tournament winless, but earned its first win Friday.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to come straight out of quarantine and possibly go 2-0 in this tournament,” Kilpatrick said. “With our low numbers, it would be phenomenal for the girls and their confidence.”