March 1, 2014

Piedmont wins region over Chickasha girls

Adam Troxtell
The Express-Star

PIEDMONT, Okla. — If a loss had to come for a team unbeaten in four, this one was probably the least impactful.

The Chickasha girls (10-13), who have been on a tear heading into the postseason, fell 52-33 to Piedmont on Saturday in their second regional championship game in two years. The seventh-ranked Lady Wildcats, in the familiar confines of their own gym, outgunned Chickasha, with five three pointers compared to none for the visitors.

Yet the Lady Chicks didn’t really need any, at least for a little while. Until the very end of the first half, they hung around behind nine points from Alex Stewart. The issue was no one else could get their shots to fall.

“It went in and everywhere but down,” head coach Christy Edelen said, bemused by how many possessions went barren by the narrowest of margins. “We didn’t shoot the ball well here on Thursday or today. We made too many turnovers against their pressure up top.”

That was until Dominique Golightly picked things up in the second half to get a steady 14 points for Chickasha.

Piedmont slowly slipped away, with junior Mina Iyaye leading on 14 points. She was one of three Piedmont players into double-digits. Hayden Priddy hit a three to help Piedmont back to a six point lead by halftime on her way to 11 points, while Bre Reid’s 10 points came off valuable shooting inside as the Lady Wildcats pulled away in the second half.

But the loss is not devastating. Chickasha stick around for area, where they’ll most likely meet No. 14 Ardmore next week. It’s a favorable draw for a consolation bracket, and it shouldn’t be too big of a task for Chickasha if they can maintain this recent form.

“I feel good about our effort,” Edelen said. “We’ll probably have Ardmore on Thursday, and if we give this kind of effort, I think we’ll be OK and plan on going to the State tournament the next Saturday.”

At this stage Edelen believes she has a card up her sleeve that, if played at the right time, could jettison the Lady Chicks to state: this season’s best game, one where four or more players are hitting on all four cylinders. The ability to play that card doesn’t just rest with her, though. Should it come soon, odds are one of those four players will be the underclassmen seeing the most time right now; freshmen Jaycie Brown, Karissa Duke, or Meredith Nolan, or sophomore Hanna Ferguson.

Nolan and Brown looked the closest on the afternoon to reaching that milestone. Brown played a key role in the first half while giving Golightly a rest. She sank a close range jumper and later pulled down an offensive rebound to draw a foul and make it a one-point game. Nolan also kept Chickasha close by scoring off an offensive rebound.

“They’re really stepping up for us at the right time,” Edelen said. “I still don’t feel like we’ve had our best game. I don’t think we’ve had a game when four of them really played well. That’s still out there for us.”