MIDWEST CITY – The Jay Lady Bulldogs’ first trip to the state tournament was a short one, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying.
Fort Gibson’s Nana Wallace made the go-ahead layup with 31.4 seconds left in the game helped the state’s number two team squeak past Jay 48-44 in a 4A quarterfinal game Carl Albert High School’s gym on Thursday night.
After a Jay turnover on the subsequent possession, Jodi Glover sank two free throws with 6.9 seconds left to give the Lady Tigers their final margin, but it was Wallace’s that broke a 44-all tie in what was a tightly contested battle from the opening tip-off.
“That was the biggest shot of my life,” Wallace said, finishing with a game-high 20 points, 11 in the fourth quarter. “I knew I had to do that for my team. I’m pretty psyched right now.”
Fort Gibson coach Jerry Walker was pretty happy – and relieved.
“My heart’s starting up a little bit now,” he said. “We played a little out of control for most of the game but in the end, our toughness won out.”
After Glover’s two free throws increased the Lady Tigers’ lead to 48-44, the No. 7 Lady Bulldogs (19-6) called time out to plan for the last shot. Megan Ritter’s three-point attempt for Jay fell short of the basket and the Lady Tigers walked off the court to play another day.
Glover finished with 17 points.
Fort Gibson outscored Jay 19-14 in the final period.
Lauren Wilson ended with a team-high 17 points, including five three-pointers, to lead Jay and teammate Carrie Kirby added 10.
Two points separated the teams for most of the fourth period until Fort Gibson took its biggest lead at 44-38 with 2:12 remaining on Wallace’s layup.
Jay battled back to tie it at 44 when Kirby dropped in both ends of a one-and-one free throw situation with 53.7 seconds left.
That set up the furious final 31.4 seconds.
Jay led 23-20 at halftime on Wilson’s two free throws with 35.4 seconds left in the half.
The Lady Tigers trailed 14-7 after the first quarter and 30-29 after three periods.
Wallace scored 18 of her points in the second half, jump-starting a stagnant Fort Gibson offense that Jay had held in check for much of the game.