Brian Johnson Special Correspondent
Shawnee — The Allen Lady Mustangs had more field goals and shot a better percentage, but the Class A 20th-ranked Davenport Lady Bulldogs had eight less turnovers and spent a huge chunk of time at the free-throw line in claiming a 44-39 win Saturday night in the championship game of the Pottawatomie County Tournament at Oklahoma Baptist University’s Noble Complex.
Allen had a 16-13 advantage in total field goals and hit at a 44 percent pace, compared to Davenport’s 30 percent. The Lady Bulldogs attempted 33 free throws, though they made only 16. But the Lady Mustangs tried just seven and converted four.
Davenport committed 18 turnovers. In contrast, Allen ended up with 26.
“The turnovers were huge. We had stone hands tonight. When we got the ball into the post, we were successful. We just didn’t do it enough,” said Allen head coach Jeremy Strong. “Davenport did a good job driving to the basket and getting to the free-throw line.”
Sophomore Miranda Raney topped the Lady Mustang scoring chart with 10 points, including two 3-point jumpers, to go with a pair of rebounds, two steals and an assist. Off the bench, senior Sandra Howshar tossed in nine points on 4-of-5 shooting from the floor (with one trey) and pulled down eight rebounds. Charlea Leonard, another sophomore starter, added eight points off 4-of-7 shooting with a game-leading 12 rebounds, 11 on the defensive end.
“Leonard is a rebounding machine, and Howshar did a good job for us,” Strong said.
Alison Sells, in a reserve role, helped key the Allen offense with five assists.
The Lady Mustangs held a 34-29 rebounding advantage, but the Lady Bulldogs did have 15 off the offensive glass, compared to only six offensive boards for Allen.
Sophomore Annie Waters tossed in a game-high 15 points for Davenport, and teammate Bailey Hendricks finished with 10.
Schylar Najera collected five steals and dished out five assists for the Lady Bulldogs, who improved to 13-4 on the season.
Allen, in dropping to 10-6 on the season, enjoyed an eight-point advantage, 20-12, at one point in the second quarter as the Lady Bulldogs went scoreless from the field for almost seven minutes. But despite what transpired, the Lady Mustangs had just a 20-17 advantage at the break.
Davenport, which bothered Allen with periodic pressure throughout, scored the first five points of the third quarter. Allen tied it up at 22 on a Kennedy Prentice bucket off a Hannah Heck feed, and Charlea Leonard lifted the Lady Mustangs to their last lead at 26-25 with a score off a Raney pass with 4:49 to go in the third.
But the Lady Bulldogs closed the third period with an 8-5 run to go up, 33-31, heading into the fourth.
Allen was unable to get over the hump, though it was within 40-39 with 3:15 to go off Howshar’s 3-pointer from above the key off Sells’ final assist.
Davenport attempted nine free shots the rest of the way, though it only connected on four. But it was enough to keep Allen at bay.
“It was a very gutty effort. We never gave up and kept fighting on defense,” said Strong. “I was really proud of the way we hung in there. We played three tough teams in this tournament (with wins over Wellston and Asher). All it did was make us better.”
The Lady Mustangs, who beat Asher in Thursday’s semifinals, will play at Asher tonight. It will be the third meeting of the season for those two squads.