Things fell into place for the Grove girls during their march to the Girls’ Round Robin title at the 65th annual Northeastern A&M High School Basketball Tournament.
“We played well all weekend, really,” said Lady Ridgerunner coach Richard Bassett. “It’s the best we’ve played this year. We’ve eliminated turnovers and started doing more ball control on offense. We’ve taken care of it better.”
Grove beat Guthrie 44-37 on Thursday, Class 5A No. 17 Durant 48-22 on Friday, then dispatched Roland 41-28 Saturday.
“Our defense this weekend was as good as it’s ever been,” Bassett said. “Our kids have gotten to where they communicate and understand what we’re trying to do as far as contesting all shots, just being relentless on ball pressure and in the passing lanes.”
Grove went 40 years before winning an NEO title — and now the Lady Ridgerunners have claimed two straight.
Personally, it’s the ninth NEO title for Bassett, who won seven during a successful stint at Picher-Cardin before that program was discontinued.
The school shut down completely last year, a victim of the Tar Creek buyout.
Grove overcame a 16-11 halftime deficit with a 15-4 run in the third quarter of Saturday’s game with Roland.
The Lady Ridgerunners put the game away with a 15-8 advantage over the last eight minutes.
“We started making some of the shots we were missing in the first half,” Bassett said.
Senior Peri Lane had 10 points to lead a balanced attack against Roland. Freshman Kat Johnson added seven points and Kinzie Miller and Shae Scott chipped in with six each.
Johnson finished the tournament with 33 points, including a 16-point effort against Guthrie.
Lane had 28 points in three games, a high of 18 in the win over Durant, and Kelsey Kerr accounted for 26 points, including 18 against Guthrie.
“Durant has been ranked high in 5A all year,” said Bassett. “Getting to see them and see where we’re at against somebody of that ranking makes us feel good. It makes us think we can compete when it comes ‘that time.’”
“That time” is the 5A playoffs, which are less than a month away.