March 7, 2014

Lady Chicks catching fire at right time

Adam Troxtell
The Express-Star

EDMOND, Okla. —

If there's one thing Jacklyn Ramos knows, it's timing.

Her season-high 20 points for Chickasha in their 73-61 win over Ardmore on Thursday may not have led the team — that was Alex Stewart's job with 28 points — but it's when they fell in that made her stand out in particular: seven at the start of the game and ten to start the second half.

"She brings an emotional leadership to our team; she brings energy to our team," head coach Christy Edelen said. "We needed her to step up tonight and score for us, and on the defensive end she's been one of our best rebounders this year."

Starting in the second quarter, Chickasha began to rise back into the game by eliminating a ten point deficit to go into halftime tied. Ardmore changed up their defense to try and stop the flood of buckets, and that's when Ramos' shooting made the biggest difference.

"They came out in the second half and tried to triangle and two us," Edelen said. "We didn't tell the girls that, we practiced on it a little bit. But the thing is Jackie hit a few shots and they had to get out of it. So, they don't even get to attack us that way."

But in the win, which Edelen called their "best team effort by far," Ramos was just a prime example of how the Lady Chicks are clicking at the right time.

"I think we're just pumped up and ready for Saturday," Ramos said after the game, unable to hold back a big smile. "We've got a few things to work on, but we want to go to state."

Her joy was clearly infectious. This was a Chickasha team that really enjoyed their basketball. Dominique Golightly, a force on the blocks the whole season, dolled out seven assists on top of seven points — much of which was earned at the foul line — and seven rebounds. 

Taylor Sylvester, who's 6' 4" frame towered over the court, wasn't just present in size alone. She used it, pulling down nine rebounds and registering nine blocks to keep the Lady Tigers away from the basket. Freshman Meredith Noland continued her steady climb with nine points, including an important bucket plus foul shot that kept Chickasha in the ascendency in the third quarter.

Then, there was Stewart. Her points haul copies the career-high total she put up against Durant in the final home game of the season, but defensively it was an entirely different level. She had eight steals, many of which resulted in easy points at the other end.

Crucially, Chickasha needs this to happen all over again against El Reno on Saturday at 3 p.m. The hope is that there is even more to come and that this was not the pinnacle of the Lady Chicks' rise.

"Let's hope not and we play like that again Saturday," Edelen said. "But we're playing our best basketball at the right time, which is what we wanted to do."