MIAMI — Friday night’s 47-41 homecoming victory over Jay got several things out of the way for Miami’s girls.
• They ended a nine-game losing streak;
• They got their first win over the Lady Bulldogs in nine tries;
• They got their first home court win since Feb. 1, 2014, and
• They got their first homecoming victory since 2013.
It didn’t come easy, though..
The Lady Wardogs led by as many as 16 and by as few as five, but a free throw by Shelby Hubbard with 18.3 seconds remaining sealed the deal.
“That was a scary fourth quarter,” Miami coach Chuck Preaus said. “Coach Crawford (Jay coach Lindsi Crawford) did an excellent job of pressuring us. She got us a couple times. We really worked the clock well. Our girls were so fired up. The crowd was fired up.”
The game was uber-physical, with three technical and 36 personal fouls called by officials Clint Proctor and Terry Rogers.
As a result, 34 free throws were attempted in the game, including 20 by Miami.
“That was a fight,” Preaus said. “I knew it would come down to a very physical game. They are a very physical, aggressive team. Nothing against that, but I told our girls we had to match that kind of play… we couldn’t back down.”
The Lady Wardogs (2-12), who opened the season with a 54-33 loss at Jay on Nov. 29, hadn’t won at home since a 63-60 win over Pryor Feb. 1, 2014.
And they hadn’t beaten the Lady Bulldogs since romping 42-20 at Jay on Jan. 11, 2013 — which also was their last homecoming victory.
Miami led 21-16 at the half then used a huge third quarter to create a 38-22 advantage.
A 14-5 edge over a five-minute span helped the Lady Bulldogs narrow the gap to 43-36.
Miami inched away again by converting on three of six free throws, but the visitors shaved the margin to five on a conventional three-point play by Kyla Rogers and two free throws from Caitlin Taylor made it 46-45 with 20.2 seconds left.
Hubbard then delivered her free throw with 18 seconds left to give Miami an insurmountable lead.
“We came up with a plan,” Preaus said. “We contested shots. We controlled our fouls. We took care of the ball probably the best we have done all year. We could have shot it better, but we got some production from almost everybody.
All eight players who saw action for MHS scored and two reached double figures: Hubbard with 13 and Bayleigh Beckwith added 11.
Beckwith drained three clutch 3-point goals in the third quarter for the Lady Wardogs.
“She had a different look in her eye tonight … something I’ve never seen,” Preaus said. “She wasn’t going to quit.”
Abby Osborn, Tara Linton and Tori Lofgren scored six points each while Mary Gilbert and Rebecca Bell had two each. Jewel Cunningham chipped in with a free throw during the decisive fourth quarter.
Callie Callihan had 21 points to lead the Jay scoring. Rogers added 12.
Miami travels to Oologah Tuesday night.