The Lady Ridgerunners took it to the net to win the district championship over the Lady Indians from Catoosa 42-40 on Friday, Feb 16.
In perhaps one of their most nail biting games of the season the Lady Ridgerunners traded leads with the Lady Indians over the course of the game.
The Lady Ridgerunners took a quick four-point lead at the start but soon ended up trailing Catoosa 8-17 by the end of the first quarter.
“We didn’t have a very good game on the defensive side of the ball,” said Coach Richard Bassett. “We emphasized the importance of blocking out and playing smart.
“We made a lot of mental mistakes defensively.”
The girls regrouped and refocused and were able to get back into the game pulling into the lead before the half 24-21.
The third quarter was a tense battle with the Lady Ridgerunners going back and forth for the lead with the Lady Indians, in a one to two-point game ending the quarter trailing 30-32.
It wasn’t until the last four mins of the game that Lady Red took the lead to win 42-40.
In terms of scoring both teams had the same number of looks making 17 two-point shots and 1 three pointers.
Lady Red was shooting 38.3 percent of their two-point buckets compared to Catoosa shooting 44 percent.
Groves effective field goal or eFG was 39.4 percent vs. Catoosa at 44 percent, which takes into account the teams two and three-point buckets.
It was their ability to draw fouls that ultimately won the game for Big Red.
Regardless of shooting only 38.5 percent of the free throws compared to Catoosa 50 percent the girls went to the line for 13 shots and sunk 5 vs. 3/6 for Catoosa.
Cheyenne Tanner put up 15 points for the girls outscoring the rest of her teammates, in a commanding performance by the Lady Ridgerunners post player.
Rory Geer followed closely behind scoring 13 points for the girls, with Macee Barnes putting 10 up on the board.
Mikalle Pair, who has been getting a lot of additional playing time this season as a sophomore contributed 4 points.
The win over Catoosa places the Lady Ridgerunners in the winners’ bracket at regionals and guarantees them a chance at area.
Their first game will be Thursday, Feb. 22 at 6:30 p.m. and will take place at Catoosa High School against Vinita’s Lady Hornets.
The Lady Hornets have a season record of 19-5 and defeated Inola to win their District game.
It will be a challenging game for the Lady Ridgerunners who are ranked 13 in the state for class 4A, as of the end of January, when OSSAA stops calculating standings.
Vinita is currently ranked 11 in the state as of January and while it is impossible to accurately predict a sporting event there are some key factors to note.
Vinita is ranked higher on points which is calculated based on many factors such as baskets, steals and more.
Vinita is currently standing at 517 points as compared to Grove which is sitting at 450 points, keep in mind the scoring stopped at the end of January.
There aren’t many teams that both Vinita and Grove play that overlap in their season, except Pryor, which Vinita has lost to on two separate occasions.
The first Vinita game was on Jan. 4 with a score of 36-39 and the second game was Jan. 19 with a score of 29-43.
Grove has played against Pryor only once, and will compete again on Monday, Feb. 19 after the paper goes to print.
In their first game against Pryor on Dec. 19 the Lady Ridgerunners won with a score of 59-44.
However, this game took place before the break and according to Bassett, “There are two seasons to basketball before the break and after the break.”
The path to state is a double elimination series with everyone being guaranteed two losses.
“Vinita is a really tough team with great tradition,” said Bassett. “I’m not exactly sure but I think they have only missed the state tournament one time in the past 10 years.
“Outside of the Edmond game this will be the toughest team we have played.”
The Ridgerunners lost to Catoosa on Friday, Feb. 16 in the district championship game 41-49.
The boys had an early lead over the Indians 12-4 in the first quarter of play but were unable to maintain the lead falling behind 17-25 by the half.
The Ridgerunners were able to keep pace with the Indians the second half of the game matching their score for the remaining two quarters.
It was the second quarter of play that hurt the boys scoring 5-21 against the Indians and they were unable to catch back up with a final score of 41-49.
"Main thing that hurt us was not rebounding the ball," said Coach Zach Trimble. "We gave them to many second chance points in the second quarter."
Going forward the Ridgerunners enter the consolation bracket of regionals to face Vinita.
The boys will play Vinita who is 3-21 on Thursday, Feb. 22 at 3pm at Catoosa.
It should present for a good game against Vinita with both teams equally paired.
"We will watch film and prepare for Vinita on Tuesday and Wednesday and we have to take it one game at a time and get ready for Pryor first," said Trimble.
The only teams that Vinita and Grove have both competed against were losses to Jay and Will Rogers.
"Vinita is always a challenge, it is a good rivalry and they are well coached," said Trimble. "They are much better than what their record says.
"Regional week is tough to prepare for all the way around. As a coach you can't talk about the next game because your team might overlook the upcoming opponent. I will watch film on all five opponents that we have a chance to play so I can get the boys prepared as much as possible when that games comes."
They boys will have one more game to help prepare for regional which will be against Pryor Monday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. which takes place after the paper goes to print.