LATTA — The Latta High School girls basketball team looked playoff ready Saturday night during a convincing 41-29 home win over Sulphur.
Latta, ranked No. 5 in Class 2A, improved to 20-4 on the year heading into another tough test tonight inside the Latta Panther Fieldhouse against Class 3A No. 8 Washington. Sulphur, ranked No. 5 in Class 3A, fell to 20-2. The Lady Bulldogs’ only previous loss was to Class 4A No. 5 Anadarko in the championship game of the Heart of Oklahoma Tournament in Purcell. Latta also held the talented SHS squad to its lowest point total of the season.
“We knew they were a really, really good ballclub. We knew we’d have to have our A game,” said Latta head coach Bruce Plunk. “This game will be really beneficial to us going into the playoffs.”
Latta led 20-15 at halftime and scored the first two baskets of the third quarter on a putback by Carson Dean and a baseball jumper from Chloe Brinlee that stretched the LHS lead to nine.
Sulphur outscored Latta 6-2 over the final minutes of the period and after Harley Jacobs hit a shot with just 28 seconds left, the Lady Bulldogs got within 26-21 heading into the fourth quarter.
Jacobs, who led Sulphur off the bench with seven points, hit a 3-pointer with just under six minutes to play in the final stanza to cut the Latta advantage to 30-27. However, Latta’s Macy Smith answered with a 3-pointer of her own on Latta’s next trip down the court. That big bucket started an 11-2 LHS run to end the game that put Sulphur away.
“Our defense was extremely good tonight,” Plunk said.
Sulphur shot just 9-of-45 from the field (20 percent) and senior standout Payton Row struggled mightily against LHS defender Shelby Garrett, finishing with just five points. Row recently signed a letter of intent to continue her basketball career at Redlands Community College in El Reno.
“The Row girl came in averaging close to 20 points per game, and Shelby just really locked down on her,” Plunk said.
Chloe Brinlee had a big night for the Lady Panthers with a game-best 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting and a game-high 12 rebounds.
“Chloe may have had ber best complete game ever tonight,” Plunk said.
Emma Epperly filled up the stat sheet with 13 points, five rebounds and five blocked shots. Dean just missed out on a double-double, contributing 10 points and nine rebounds for Latta.
“I could go down every player and list what they did well. They all did their job, but it took all of them to do it,” Plunk said. “We’ve built to that, and that’s who we can be. We finished strong. It was just a good, complete, solid game.”