By Shane Bennett
With nine seconds left in the game on Saturday night, Velma-Alma used a timeout to set up the game-winning shot. The Lady Comets were trailing Davis by one on the Lady Wolves’ home court in the finals of the first ever, Arbuckle Winter Classic. While the Velma coach was diagramming the play for his team, Davis head coach Jeff Brown was encouraging his.
“I told the girls, this is what we’re best at. We’ve got to go get one stop,” Brown said after the game.
The visitors got the ball into the hands of their best player who tried to take it to the basket. Instead, great defense forced a pull-up jumper from just inside the free-throw line with three seconds left. The shot came up short and the Lady Wolves secured the rebound, a 39-38 victory and the first ever tournament title in the Arbuckle Winter Classic.
“It was great team defense and Chloe Summers came up with the biggest rebound of the night,” Brown explained.
The game was close throughout, filled with drama for an unusually loud pandemic crowd. Velma-Alma got great three-point shooting in the first half and used lob passes inside to build a five-point lead by half-time. The Lady Wolves, however, didn’t blink.
Davis put the clamps on the visitors in the third quarter and held Velma-Alma without a single field goal in the frame. Two free throws for the Lady Comets put them up 25-21 with 5:18 left in the third quarter, but those were the only points they would score in an 11-2 quarter that turned a six point deficit into a three point lead for Davis.
Steals by Jacie LaNoy and Jordan Brown keyed a 7-0 run to finish the quarter, punctuated by a blocked shot from Summers with just two seconds left.
In the fourth, Davis dominated with hustle early. Offensive rebounds, steals and getting every loose ball led the Lady Wolves to a 34-25 lead with 5:50 to go. Then, came the Velma-Alma resurgence. A trio of three-pointers keyed an 11-2 run for the visitors that tied the game with 3 minutes left.
Davis played stellar defense and needed it to overcome faulty free-throw shooting in the fourth. The Lady Wolves made just four of 12 free-throw shots in the final eight minutes, but the last one by LaNoy with 1:10 left on the clock gave Davis the lead for good. The Red-and-White held Velma-Alma scoreless over the last 1:33 to preserve the victory.
“These girls all care about each other and they really want to win for each other,” Brown said. “This is the first championship game these girls have been and for them to know now they can get the job done in a moment like that is gonna be big for ‘em.”
Getting the job done was the theme of the entire week as Davis went 4-0 in a full slate of games.
Davis 40, Pauls Valley 28
The week started strong with a double-digit win at Pauls Valley on Jan. 5. Davis smothered the home team in the first quarter, outscoring the Lady Panthers 10-2 in the process. Davis led 22-10 at halftime and Logan Pruitt put the game away at the free throw line in the second half. She made 8 of 16 foul shots after halftime, 10 of 20 on the game en route to a 20-point performance in the win.
Davis 61, Marietta j.v. 23
As tournament play began on Jan. 7, Davis destroyed the first of two j.v. teams added to the slate due to COVID cancelations. The Lady Wolves put up 27 points in the first quarter with five different players getting on the board to blow the game open. Morgan Scott found her shot in the second half, knocking down a pair of threes and netting double figures, all after intermission.
Davis 50, Ringling j.v. 14
Friday’s semifinal was all about the “D” for Davis. The Red-and-White didn’t allow more than six points in any quarter and held Ringling’s j.v. to a goose egg in the third.
Summers made a trio of treys and racked up 17 points to lead all scorers and Grace Murphy added 12 of her own.
By the time the tournament was over, Davis was sitting on a 7-game winning streak with an 8-2 record on the season.
“Our approach is treat each game like it’s the biggest game of the year because it’s the game in front of us,” Brown explained. “Our girls have completely bought in and we’re getting better every time we play.”
The Lady Wolves’ next opportunity was set for a Tuesday home game against Lindsay, followed by a trip to Washington on Friday night.
Team 1 2 3 4 – F
Davis 10 12 10 8 – 40
Pauls Valley 2 8 11 7 – 28
D – Logan Pruitt 20, Jacie LaNoy 11, Grace Murphy 3, Chloe Summers 3, Jordan Brown 3.
Team 1 2 3 4 – F
Davis 27 8 17 9 – 61
Marietta j.v. 5 5 3 10 – 23
D – Logan Pruitt 21, Morgan Scott 10, Jordan Brown 8 Grace Murphy 7, Jacie LaNoy 6, Madison Adams 5, Presley Smith 2 and MaCalah McDlelan 2.
Team 1 2 3 4 – F
Davis 13 12 20 5 – 50
Ringling j.v. 4 6 0 4 – 14
D – Chloe Summers 17, Logan Pruitt 9, Grace Murphy 12, Jordan Brown 7 and Madison Adams 5.
Team 1 2 3 4 – F
Davis 7 10 11 11 – 39
Velma-Alma 14 9 2 13 – 38
D – Logan Pruitt 14, Grace Murphy 9, Jacie LaNoy 7, Chloe Summers 3, Jordan Brown 3 and Morgan Scott 3.