The 20th-ranked Roff Lady Tigers dominated the boards and made more field goals against No. 17 Arkoma in a Class A Area Tournament clash Thursday afternoon inside Southeastern’s Bloomer Sullivan Arena.
But the Lady Mustangs got two big fourth-quarter 3-point baskets by Shaylea Whisenhunt and six clutch free throws by standout Kesli Johnson and held off Roff 51-46.
The Lady Tigers end their basketball season at 22-8 while Arkoma advances for a possible matchup with the Allen Lady Mustangs tonight today at 1:30 p.m. Allen battled Webbers Falls Thursday night and that result was not available at press time.
“We outplayed them in most aspects of the game,” Roff head coach Blake Crawford said after noticing his team won the rebounding battle by a whopping 44-28 count. “I’m proud of my kids. There were a few possessions in the third and fourth quarters that we didn’t do a very good job, but the rest of the game we played really well.”
After Roff’s Jalee Hood scored on a strong move to the basket to knot the score at 34-34, Arkoma made back-to-back 3-pointers Abby Gragg and Whisenhunt to put the Lady Tigers in a 40-34 hole with 5:31 to play.
Breecia Crawford scored to get Roff within 40-36 only to see Johnson hit two free throws and Whisenhunt hit a layup after a steal by Rosa Orpo to push the Arkoma lead back to 44-38.
The Lady Tigers got a pair of free shots by Ashley Cornell and a Breecia Crawford shot inside with 2:12 remaining to get their team to within 44-40.
After an Arkoma miss, Roff’s Lauren Trimmer tracked down the rebound. She was whistled for a traveling violation and both she and her head coach appeared to be surprised by the call. In fact, Blake Crawford spend most of a time out visiting with the official about the play.
Whisenhunt followed that critical Roff turnover with a 3-pointer from the corner that gave Arkoma a 47-40 lead with only 1:41 to play.
“The guy out at half court calls a walk and then they hit a three. That was a huge possession,” Crawford said.
Hood scored four straight points to get Roff within 47-44 after her steal and layup with 40 seconds left on the clock, but Johnson hit four free throws in the closing seconds to keep Roff at bay. She finish with a game-high 24 points, had 10 rebounds and was a perfect 11-of-11 from the charity stripe.
As a team, Arkoma made 14-of-15 free throws.
“That wins games, doesn’t it,” Crawford said of Arokma’s efficient free-throw shooting. “They deserved to win. They earned it.”
It was all Roff in the first 12 minutes. The Lady Tigers held Arkoma to just two first-quarter points and bolted to leads of 8-2 and 13-5. In fact, both teams started off slow. Before Roff’s Darcy Bowerman hit the first field goal of the game at the 3:23 mark of the first quarter, the two teams had shot a combined 0-for-13 from the field.
Arkoma hit just one field goal in their first 16 tries.
“I don’t think they were ready for our defense. Our defense has been our staple,” Crawford said. “We held a team that had been scoring in the 70s and 80s to 50 points.”
The Lady Mustangs had indeed scored from 65 to 93 points in 12 of their past 13 contests.
Roff’s early lead could have even been more sizable, but the Lady Tigers also missed a number of shots in the lane.
“We missed quite a few easy shots, but they (Arkoma) were physical too. You get in the playoffs, you don’t get many calls inside,” he said.
The Lady Mustangs heated up to close out the second quarter, outscoring Roff 14-7 to finish the period and cut the score to 20-19 at the break. After missing its first 11 shots from long range, Arkoma hit two 3-pointers in the final minute of the first half.
Breecia Crawford led Roff with 15 points and 12 rebounds while Trimmer followed with nine points and 10 boards.
Amy Crawford contributed eight points while Cornell and Hood both scored six points each off the bench.
Whisenhunt added eight points fro Arkoma while Gragg and Orpo followed with seven apiece.