OKLAHOMA CITY — The Tuttle Lady Tigers wanted to make history.
The Lady Tigers knew that Tuttle had never won a state championship in girls basketball. Before they advanced to the Class 4A state championship game this past season, the Lady Tigers had never even competed in a state championship game.
Both of those facts changed under the lights of Jim Norick Arena in Oklahoma City on Saturday. The third-ranked Lady Tigers won the state title, defeating fifth-ranked Fort Gibson 53-38.
“I've been dreaming of this since I was a little kid,” Tuttle sophomore Landry Allen said after the win.
Allen described winning the title as the “best feeling in the world.” She also gave her thoughts about winning the first state title in girls basketball and adding to the athletic department's illustrious history.
“Tuttle is such an athletic program,” Allen said. “There was never girls basketball up on the banners.
“After this, I feel like we just feel like we're a part of it.”
Allen led a balanced Tuttle attack that had four players score at least nine points. She finished off a dominant state tournament with a 17-point performance.
Allen scored 22 points against No. 6 Holland Hall and 23 points against No. 2 Anadarko in the first two games of the tournament. She also recorded two double-doubles during the tournament.
Despite the 15-point margin at the end of the game, Tuttle had to fight off Fort Gibson and used a strong final quarter to do it. After a 3-pointer gave Fort Gibson a 32-29 lead in the third quarter, Tuttle ended the game on a 24-6 run.
Tuttle and Fort Gibson were even at 36 in the fourth quarter, and Tuttle pulled away by scoring 17 of the game's final 19 points. Tuttle held Fort Gibson to just six points in the fourth quarter, and head coach Brian Lester said the success was about locking in mentally.
"We just quit making mental mistakes," he said.
Two Tuttle players joined Allen with double-digit points. Storie Driver hit three 3-pointers and scored 11 points off the bench, and Madi Surber scored 10 points in the win.
Hadley Periman (nine points), Allie Rehl (four) and Shayla Wilson (two) completed the scoring for Tuttle.
Lester was obviously excited about the win and about bringing another title back to Tuttle.
“I can't describe the way I feel for our kids,” he said.
Winning the state title helps relieve some of the pressure that comes along with all of the surrounding success.
“You look around, and there's a lot of pressure at Tuttle because everybody's good," Lester said. “I know our kids feel it at times, and I know our coaches feel it.”
He also described the feeling as "unreal."
Lester believes team chemistry played a crucial role in the team's success.
"It's huge," he said.
Tuttle went up against a program that is a basketball power with plenty of tradition. Fort Gibson has been to state the last 17 seasons and has won multiple state championships.
When Tuttle advanced to state in 2018 and fell to Fort Gibson in the quarterfinals, Lester's assistant wondered why Tuttle could not be like that.
With trips to state in three of the past four seasons and a state title, Tuttle is building that tradition.