BETHANY – Piedmont didn’t make a singular play down the stretch of Monday night’s Bethany Classic girls championship game to beat Tahlequah.
The Lady Wildcats made them all.
Hannah Reasoner put home a layup off a steal with less than 15 seconds to play to take away Tahlequah’s last chance to tie the game and sealed a 12-2 run down the stretch in No. 5 Piedmont’s 49-45 win.
“It really boiled down to the girls stepping up,” head coach Jordan Stark said. “They did a really good job of sticking to the gameplan.”
Maci Attalla led Piedmont with 17 points and McKenna Kirkpatrick added 11 as the Lady Wildcats improved to 8-1 while taking home the title. Attalla was Piedmont’s go-to weapon in the paint, especially in the first half when she scored 13 points.
“Maci did a great job. I don’t even know if she can play that well again, but I hope she can,” Stark said. “She did this a little bit last year. She was timid and apprehensive to start then all of a sudden something clicks and she goes beast mode and nothing can stop her. She’s one of the strongest girls on the team.”
Attalla said she had a feeling it was going to be a good night when she made her first basket and was sure it was when she lost control of a shot along the baseline that slipped out of her hand and banked in from a difficult angle during the third quarter.
“I’m not really sure how that went it, but I meant to do that,” she said sarcastically.
Attalla’s production was particularly important Monday because Piedmont’s two college-bound prospects – Maddie Sperle and Kish Chandler – were mostly quiet and scored just 12 points combined. Sperle didn’t score until 5:10 was left in the game, but managed to put together a personal six-point run that erased a 43-37 deficit.
“She battled a little bit tonight with some confidence. Every player is going to have a bad night and it’s about how you fight through it. She did and I’m proud of her for that.”
Delaney Nix led Tahlequah with 12 points, but had just three after halftime. Piedmont used Melissa Green, Reasoner and Chandler in a box-and-one and triangle-and-two defense to slow Nix, Stark said.
“We wanted to slow down their offense and try and get them in a funk,” she said.
The Wildcats also fought back on the glass in the second half after the Tigers owned second-chance points in the first half.
“After halftime I feel like our mentality changed,” Stark said. “We said, ‘we can win this game.'”