Aaron Colen, Sports Editor, Aaron.Colen@chickashanews.com
The Chickasha High School girls basketball team is 1-1 after its first two games, which isn't as good as the record it had after two games last season. However, it's obvious the 2012 team is much-improved.
The Lady Chicks beat Noble 54-27 on Friday night, and lost to Elgin 42-38 on Saturday, but even the loss showed progress from last season.
In 2011, Chickasha lost badly to Elgin both times the two teams met last season. The Lady Owls beat Chickasha 63-39 on Dec. 17 at State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City, and then won 53-36 over the Chicks on Jan. 24.
Friday's game against Noble was an encouraging start to the season, and an impressive debut by freshman Dominique Golightly, who scored the first 10 points of the game in her first varsity action.
"I was so proud for her. She works hard, all these girls worked so hard in the summer time, and I think you could tell that in our game," head coach Christy Edelen said. "No matter what combo of girls we have in there, they're all a lot better than they were last year."
The Lady Chicks pulled ahead to an 18-6 lead after the first quarter, and led by double-digits for the rest of the game.
Near the end of the third quarter, the Chickasha lead swelled to 28 points, and Edelen pulled her starters. Noble was held scoreless in the third quarter until 2:40 left, and didn't score much after that.
Kieley Clift was the leading scorer with 12 points. Golightly and Hamilton had 10 points each, and Alex Stewart scored eight.
The Lady Chicks didn't have much time to celebrate, with a game against a much tougher Elgin team the very next day. Edelen said there were positives and negatives to starting the season with a back-to-back.
"It's tough because you had all the emotions of the first game last night, and we had such a good game, and possibly it could have carried us into tonight," Edelen said. "But on the other side it is emotional."
Chickasha was close through the whole game, leading by one after the first quarter, trailing by one at halftime and trailing by three after three quarters. The Lady Chicks were within one point in the last two minutes of the game, but some late mistakes combined with Elgin's experience led to a Chickasha loss.
"I was really proud," Edelen said. "They had us down a few times late. I want to say we're young, but at the same time, we just haven't been in that situation, and they have, with the playoff run they had last year. It was new to us with that group of girls on the floor.
Clift was again Chickasha's leading scorer with 13 points. Golightly had nine, and Hamilton scored eight. Maddy Irving and Stewart scored four points each.
"They kept coming back, they kept finding a way, and that's a great opportunity for us to learn and better ourselves, especially this early in the season."
The Chickasha girls will play again at 10 a.m. Thursday in the Millwood Falcon Invitational tournament in Oklahoma City, with their first game attains Mount St. Mary.