GROVE - The Jay Lady Bulldogs shook off the holiday rust, while the Grove Lady Ridgerunners continued to struggle offensively in a 55-43 win for the Lady Bulldogs on Tuesday night.
The Lady Bulldogs (7-3) extended their winning streak to four games, forcing 34 Grove turnovers and outrebounding the Lady Ridgerunners (4-4) by a 30-21 margin.
"That's something we've worked on," Jay head coach Terry Sweeney said about his teams rebounding effort. "We got beat up on the boards at Kansas (Jay's season opener on November 23). We've outrebounded everybody since then. We're small but we're pretty feisty."
There would be plenty of rebounds to go around, as both teams showed the effects of not having a game in over two weeks by missing plenty of shots early on. Both teams went over four minutes without a field goal to start the game as the Lady Bulldogs took a 9-5 lead after the opening eight minutes.
Laura Whiteley helped spark the Jay offense in the second quarter, following a three-pointer with an assist on a Talisa Budder basket to extend the Lady Bulldogs' lead to 17-7 halfway through the period.
The Lady Ridgerunners would close to within five after a three by Amanda Cook, her only basket of the night, with 2:32 left in the half, before Jay took a 21-15 lead into halftime. Grove was still in the game at the break despite 22 first half turnovers.
But in the second half the mounting turnovers would start to catch up with the Lady Ridgerunners as the Lady Bulldogs began to make some shots and exert their dominance on the boards. Leading 26-20 with 5:14 left in the third quarter, Jay would go on a 10-0 run to essentially put the game away. Whiteley had eight points during the run, including two baskets from beyond the arc, as Jay built their biggest lead (36-20) with just over three minutes left in the period.
The Lady Ridgerunners would make an attempt at a comeback in the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to 42-35 with 4:30 left in the game.
"I knew they were going to make a run," Sweeney said. "We got riled up and turned the ball over and didn't play smart there."
The Lady Bulldogs would steady the ship with a 7-0 run, getting a three-point play from Lauren Wilson after an offensive rebound to make the score 49-35 with just under four minutes to play. Grove would not get within 12 points for the remainder of the game. Carrie Kirby would score nine points in the quarter for Jay as the Lady Bulldogs repeatedly broke Grove's pressure defense.
"It's completely frustrating," Grove head coach Richard Bassett said. "We've got to just go back to the drawing board."
Taylor Dodson led the Lady Ridgerunners with 13 points. Mason Jeffries added nine points and 11 rebounds.
Whiteley led the Lady Bulldogs with 15 points, while Wilson and Kirby added 12 points each.
The Lady Bulldogs will get another shot at Kansas when they host the Lady Comets on Friday night at 6:30. The Lady Comets won the first matchup between the two teams 50-39 in November.
The Lady Ridgerunners will be back in action next Tuesday when they travel to Wagoner to take on the Lady Bulldogs, who defeated Grove 46-37 in both teams' season opener in November.
Jay 55, Grove 43
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
JHS 9 12 18 16 55
GHS 5 10 10 18 43
JHS: Whiteley 15, Kirby 12, Wilson 12, Ridder 8, Myers 5, Budder 2, Hogshooter 1.
GHS: Dodson 13, Jeffries 9, Miller 6, Scott 5, Freeman 4, A. Cook 3.