MIAMI — Things wobbled a little down the stretch for Miami’s girls, but the Lady Wardogs showed “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Kylie Jinks’ put back with 4.1 seconds remaining gave MHS a 48-47 Verdigris Valley Conference victory here Tuesday, Feb. 4.
“We wobbled at the end, but they hung in there at the end,” Miami coach Robert Neill said. “We had a couple chances to put them away and they got back in it. We could have folded up the tent, but we stayed in there.
“The inbounds play we ran at the end to win it, we probably ran it as perfect as we ever have, and that includes practice,” Neill said. “I was pretty proud that we hung with it and were able to keep focused when we called the play and were able to run it, then finish it out.”
Catoosa had taken a 47-46 lead with 15.6 seconds left on a pair of free throws by Faith Hopkins.
Neill used a time out to set things up.
Cali Mercer inbounded the ball to Beca Hopping, who in turn handed it off.
“On the handoff, we’re looking to get to the basket or that girl that spaces out to the wing, we’re looking for her to see the back of somebody’s head and make a backdoor cut if they are cutting Mercer off,” Neill said. “She’s going to hit the backdoor there. A lot of times, we miss time it, or we don't see the backdoor cut, or we make the backdoor cut when we’re trying to drive off the handoff. We ran it pretty much to perfection there.
“I asked Cali if she saw the back of her (Jinks’) head and she says ‘honestly I didn’t. I just cut.’ I said ‘it was the back of her head because she was looking for Cali when Cali passed the ball.”
The win was just the third of the season for the Lady Wardogs, who improved to 3-12 on the season. Two of the wins have come in VV action.
“I would say it was pretty close to a complete game. We had a couple 30-second stretches here or there or 10 seconds here or there where we went totally out of our minds and didn’t do what we were supposed to do.”
The game was tied at 9 after one quarter, then Miami went into the half with a 23-20 advantage and it was up 34-27 going into the fourth.
Catoosa grabbed a 45-44 lead with 1:16 remaining but the Lady Wardogs went up 46-45 at the 25.3-second mark on a bucket from outside by Maddie Arnold.
The visitors flipped the score into a one-point lead on the Hopkins’ free throws.
“I tried to call a couple time outs at key moments to get them back, saying ‘we’ve got a lead here,’” Neill said. “I’m not going to say ‘hey, we’re going to go into the Iba delay game, but we need to be particular about what we’re doing coming down the stretch.’”
Hopping had a team-high 15 points for MHS, followed by Jinks with nine, Sara Acupan with eight, Chloe Preaus with seven, Arnold with six, Mercer with four and Kristal Glass with one.
Hopkins had 27 to lead the Lady Indians. She got 14 of that in the fourth quarter.
Delaney Labass chipped in with 10.