Fans got a double helping of extra basketball on Tuesday night when Piedmont fell to the Lady Wolves of Shawnee 62-57 in double overtime.
Piedmont and Shawnee played a close game all night and things came down to execution in crunch time. The Lady Wolves, who are the defending Class 5A state champions, have been in the same situations many times and were able to do the little things when it mattered most. For Piedmont, it was a great learning experience for a growing team.
The Lady Wildcats were sparked by the play of Breanu Reid and Hayden Priddy in the first half. Reid and Priddy combined for 15 of the Lady Wildcats 25 first half points. Piedmont put together a great defensive effort out of the gate. Shawnee battled back and took a 12-11 lead with five seconds left in the first. Shawnee would stretch that lead to as many as six in the second quarter but the Lady Wildcats continued to find a way to stay in the game despite some offensive hiccups. Piedmont trailed by three at halftime.
The third quarter was all about senior guard Kristin Hager. Hager came off the bench and scored all 11 of the Lady Wildcats third quarter points. At the 4:52 mark, Piedmont took their first lead since the first quarter and clung to a three point lead when the third came to an end.
The teams traded baskets in the fourth quarter but some rough late game execution bit the Lady Wildcats. Shawnee started to foul at the 45 second mark, down one. Ashley Almond helped Piedmont to a two point lead with six seconds left on the clock but Shawnee drained a shot as the clock expired to send the game into overtime.
Piedmont came out in overtime struggling to take care of the ball and Shawnee built a slim lead. Sarah Parker helped Piedmont stay afloat by attacking the basket and drawing fouls. Parker tied the game with four seconds remaining to force another bonus period.
Almond helped Piedmont get off to a good start in the second overtime but the Lady Wolves big game experience showed up. Shawnee took a two-point lead with 2:30 left on the clock. The Lady Wildcats started to force shots from the perimeter and Shawnee was able to melt seconds off the game clock. Piedmont would cut the lead down to three with a pair of Parker free throws with 16 seconds remaining but the Lady Wolves refused to miss at the charity stripe to pull off the victory.
“We can take away a great lesson from this,” Coach Amanda Tims said. “I told the girls that this game shows how important it is to establish an inside presence. It’s all about the little things. Shawnee knows how to play in big ball games and this game will only benefit us down the road. I thought our response from (Monday’s game against Newkirk) to tonight was good. T0 come out and give the effort we lacked on Monday, that was good. We need to execute. We had a lot of good things (on Tuesday). We had girls come off the bench and spark us. Our girls are getting a lot of experience that is worth a lot.”
That spark off the bench came from Hager against Shawnee.
“It was surprising for me and my teammates,” Hager said of her third quarter burst. “It got my team going and, I think, helped give us something we needed. We did our best and gave it all we had. We can learn from this.”
Piedmont travels to Mannford today and Saturday for the final two rounds of the Mannford tournament and will host Carl Albert on Tuesday, Dec. 11.