Byng’s offense continued to hibernate Tuesday at the 34th Bertha Frank Teague Mid-America Classic. To make matters worse, the Lady Pirates found a bear in their cave for the second straight day.
On the heels of a 52-27 opening-round loss to Class A No. 2 Calumet, the Lady Pirates ran head-on into a Shawnee team ranked No. 5 in Class 5A and still stinging from Monday’s overtime loss to defending tournament champion Anadarko. Add a dramatic shooting turnaround by the Lady Wolves to the equation, and it all added up to a 61-30 Shawnee victory that set up a marquee match-up in the Mid-America’s fifth-place game for the second straight year.
With the win, Shawnee (5-1) advanced to meet Class A No. 1 Cyril in today’s consolation championship at 4:30 p.m. Cyril (10-1) turned in a record-setting defensive performance in Tuesday’s opener, limiting Wellston to the lowest point total ever posted by a team in Oklahoma’s oldest girls tournament en route to a 37-13 victory.
Byng, meanwhile, fell to 6-4 on the year and will play Wellston in a seventh-place game matching two teams who have been outscored by a combined 233-107 in their first two Mid-America games.
Despite outrebounding their opponent for the second straight game, the Lady Pirates couldn’t find an answer on defense for Shawnee’s three-headed monster of center Caitlyn Ramirez, forward Micaela Yu and guard Kelsee Grovey, and Byng’s shooting woes continued. After hitting just 7-of-35 shots in the loss to Calumet, the Lady Pirates — who also turned the ball over 26 times — were 10-for-33 against Shawnee, including 5-of-21 in the second half.
“One of our team goals is a limit of 15 turnovers — today we had 13 turnovers in each half,” Byng coach Matt Fike said. “A lot of that is on us for not taking care of the basketball, but a lot of it is a credit (to the Lady Wolves).
“In terms of physical match-ups, we thought Shawnee would be the toughest team for us to match up with in the tournament,” he added. “They’re a nightmare because they’re so big at so many positions.”
Ramirez, a 6-1 junior from Moss who moved to Shawnee over the summer, finished with 17 points, five steals, five rebounds and two blocked shots and teamed with Grovey — a 5-8 junior who also had five steals to go with a team-high 19 points — and the 5-10 Yu to hit a mind-boggling 23-of-34 shots. That trio combined to score 52 of the Lady Wolves’ 61 points.
“Yesterday the girls told me they were all nervous about playing in this tournament,” Shawnee coach Wendy Wells said. “It’s a big deal for them.
“They were able to relax today and play under control offensively,” she added. “We’ve only played five games, and we’re still working some things out.”
Byng had a chance to trim what had been an 11-point (23-12) Shawnee lead to six after sophomore Raetchel Gray got a steal with about two and a half minutes left in the first half and the Lady Pirates down 24-16. But Gray threw the ball away at the 2:20 mark to start a string of five straight turnovers that extended into the third quarter, and by the time Byng took another shot, Shawnee’s lead had ballooned to 35-16.
Grovey’s 3-pointer 19 seconds after the first turnover made it 27-16, and Ramirez sent the Lady Wolves to the locker room with a 30-16 lead when she hit a point-blank jumper off an assist from Taylor Fluke with 10 seconds left in the half
Ramirez drained a baseline jumper and Grovey added a 3-pointer in the first 1:08 of the third quarter to push the lead to 19, and Grovey got a steal and layup to extend the lead to 37-16 at the 5:48 mark. Stormy Sayre finally ended the Byng drought with a jumper off an assist from Gray on an inbounds play 22 seconds later, but the Lady Pirates didn’t score again for almost four minutes.
Between Sayre’s basket and a putback of an offensive rebound by Byng center Presli Manuel at the 1:47 mark, Byng turned the ball five times in six possessions. Shawnee turned those five turnovers into eight points and took a 45-18 lead on a steal and layup by Yu with 2:08 left in the quarter.
Manuel, playing in just her second game after missing four games with a knee injury, scored 10 points to share team honors with Sayre, and Gray had 10 of Byng’s 29 rebounds to go with four first-half points in the loss. Those three players combined for nine of the Lady Pirates 10 baskets and for 20 of their 33 field goal attempts.