MIAMI — The first win of the season couldn’t have come at a better time for the Miami girls.
Ending a 29-game losing streak, the Lady Wardogs topped Tulsa Lincoln Christian in the Class 4A Area II District 8 basketball tournament at the MAC Friday, Feb. 16.
“I can’t explain how proud I am of them,” Miami coach Chuck Preaus said. “They proved they can play.”
The Lady Wardogs had come oh-so-close on Monday, Feb. 12 when they suffered a 43-37 overtime loss to Claremore Sequoyah.
Lincoln Christian had pulled to within one, 37-36, with just under a minute to play.
But the Lady Wardogs held the Tulsans at bay down the stretch, getting two free throws and a put back from Mary Gilbert in the last 24 seconds to finish off the Lady Bulldogs.
“They responded well,” Preaus said. “Lincoln’s girls did a great job. They worked just as hard. I know it mattered to them, but playing at home makes it even more special.
“For those seniors, this was their last home game and it was even more special for them.”
It will be David v. Goliath in the next round when the Lady Wardogs could face top-ranked Fort Gibson in Winners Bracket C on Friday, Feb. 22, on the Lady Tigers’ home floor.
Fort Gibson and Claremore Sequoyah square off in District 5 play, Saturday, Feb. 23, at Fort Gibson.
“The way our bracket looked, if there was a game to win, it was this one,” Preaus said. “I told the girls the record doesn’t matter. What matters is tonight and if we do this tonight, it sets us up where we can have some success.”
Miami had lost its final eight games in the 2016-17 season then was 0-21, that is until Friday night.
After trailing 13-8 after one, the Lady Wardogs went up 16-15 at the half and carried a 23-20 lead into the final stanza.
Every time the Lady Bulldogs would make a run, MHS would counter.
The 37-36 deficit was the closest Lincoln would get.
Mary Gilbert and Bayleigh Beckwith were MHS’ leading scorers with 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Gilbert got nine of hers down the stretch.
The Lady Wardogs also picked up six from Abby Osborn, four from Shelby Hubbard, three from Rebecca Bell and one from Maddie Arnold.
Allie Helland accounted for 19 of the Lady Bulldogs’ 36 points, including 12 of their 16 in the fourth quarter.