The Claremore girls did what was expected. Then, the Claremore boys came out and did the unexpected.
Improving their record to 18-1, the Lady Zebras had no trouble rolling over Tulsa Edison, 76-51, in a Tuesday night high school basketball game at the Frank Mobra Field House.
Before tip-off, most observers felt the eighth-ranked Edison boys would do likewise in the second game. The Eagles won and managed a split for the night with a 47-44 decision, but not before Claremore gave them a scare.
Dallas Randen came close to forcing an overtime with a 32-foot fall away jump shot straight in front of the basket. The ball struck the front rim, however, as the buzzer sounded.
It was all Lady Zebras in the opener as Mandi Walker struck for a pair of quick 3-point baskets. Before halftime, Claremore added up 7 of 8 attempts beyond the 3-point arc.
Led by Jaren Riley's 21 points, Claremore stayed right on Edison's heels until Terrell Williams converted a Zebra turnover into the Eagles' deciding basket with 1:14 to play.
Raphael Todd's free throw proved to be unneeded insurance seconds later.
Claremore's lone lead was due to six straight free throws in the fourth quarter. After Robert Boyles tied the score at 42 at 3:42, Riley stepped to the line for two more and the Zebras were on top, 44-42.
Turnovers on the next two possessions prevented the home team from adding to the edge.
When the dust settled, the first quarter proved to be the winning difference. Edison, coached by 1989 Claremore All-Stater Michael Parrish, came out fast and built an 18-12 edge.
Riley, almost singlehandly, tried to keep the Zebras in the game. He accounted for all but one of his team's points in the opening period by hitting 3 of 3 3-pointers. His game-high performance came on 4 of 6 from long range and 5 of 8 overall.
Despite having a taller lineup with more speed, Edison managed to out-rebound Claremore only by a 26-25 margin.
"We have been working on getting more rebounds, that's where we have had a weak spot in earlier games," said Zebra coach Lance Bennett. "Tonight, five different players came down with four or more loose balls. That shows me the boys are going after them."
Backing Riley was freshman Alex Miller with 10 points. All 10 came in the second quarter as the Zebras managed to pull back to within 30-28 before halftime.
Claremore, with two regular-season games remaining, is 9-11.
Edison, 14-6, was led by Mark Rutledge's 13 points and Todd Aduddell's 10.
Walker and Cassie Bowen combined to sink 7 of 8 3-pointers in the first half as the Lady Zebras came out in full force against a solid and highly regarded Edison squad.
To show what kind of night Claremore had, Walker's nine points and Bowen's 16 were not at the top of the offensive scoring chart. That honor belonged to Audra Skimbo with 24 and Logan Froese
The double outside (Walker-Bowen) scoring combined with the double inside (Skimbo-Froese) punch was non-stoppable for the Lady Eagles who entered the contest with a 15-6 record.
Holding a 13-point lead at halftime, the Lady Zebras turned away from the 3-point attempts in the second half and continued to pound away inside.
Except for a bucket by Bowen and a pair of free throws from Siera Barnwell, all of Claremore's remaining 25 second-half points came from the inside duo.
Jennifer Johnson topped Edison with 19 points, but was held to only four over the final two quarters. Antoinette Carter tried to pick up some of the slack. Eight of her 11 points followed the break.
EDISON 47, CLAREMORE 44
Edison 18 12 9 8 — 47
Claremore 12 16 7 9 — 44
Tulsa Edison — Rutledge 13, Aduddell 10, Thompson 9, Williams 5, Todd 5, Hamilton 4, Bush 1.
Claremore — Riley 21, Miller 10, Randen 6, Shisler 2, Moseley 2, Boyles 2, James 1.
CLAREMORE 76, EDISON 51
Edison 12 13 10 16 — 51
Claremore 25 22 19 10 — 76
Tulsa Edison — J.Johnson 19, Carter 11, B.Johnson 7, Drink 5, Finch 4, Blake 2, Ware 2, Devers 1.
Claremore — Skimbo 24, Froese 21, Bowen 16, Walker 9, Barnwell 6.