AMBER — The trophy doesn’t always go to the number one seed, but this time it did.
Rush Springs girls kept the Grady County Tournament title within its boundaries, beating Oklahoma Christian Academy, from Edmond, 44-35 in Amber on Saturday. It’s the first time since 2005 the Lady Redskins have lifted the title.
It’s also the first taste of glory for freshman Jordan Brooks, who led the floor with 22 points. Left isolated often, Brooks made her chances count while also bringing down the lions’ share of rebounds.
But perhaps more importantly, the Rush Springs defense kept the Lady Eagles long-range shooting well under wraps the entire night. Taylor Eastep is the usual leader for them in this category, but the senior pulled down just two threes – her only field goals of the night – to lead the team with 11 points. Addison Martin, another big threat, found herself in foul trouble early, limiting her contribution to just nine points.
The Lady Eagles defense prevented Rush Springs from penetrating the lane in the first quarter. Brooks was crowded out most of the time, and the forced long-distance shots weren’t falling. They were at the other end, and a Mitchell three-pointer put OCA up early.
They led by six entering the second quarter, but the Lady Redskins finally got things going down low. Brooks scored six points, all from the left low block, in the quarter, and that helped spark a 15-3 run that gave Rush Springs the advantage by halftime. Some of the other shots started to go in, as well, like a Samantha Dennis three to put the Lady Redskins up by four.
OCA showed signs of life heading into the break. Veronica Cassel found herself wide open down low for a quick four points to cut the deficit to two by the end of the first half. It seemed Rush Springs were more concerned with keeping the Lady Eagles contained on the perimeter. The two-guard, Estep, had just one basket, a three pointer in the middle of that Rush Springs scoring run, to her name in two quarters of basketball.
The Lady Redskins found more and more chances inside in the second half. Brooks tallied 14 of her points in the second half, but the spark came from Kaylin Renneker. She had seven points in the third quarter alone to lead the team on a 12-1 run that ended up putting them beyond reach.