Sports Sunday Correspondent
The City of Claremore missed a golden opportunity this weekend. If officials somehow could have captured the electrical tension inside the Frank Mobra Fieldhouse Friday night, the next power outage would be no problem.
It was deja-vu all over again.
For the second time this year, Claremore and Coweta had to go to overtime to decide a winner in a girls high school basketball game. Once again, the Lady Zebras came out on top.
Getting 12 points in the extra period from Audra Skimbo, Claremore won, 63-58, to remain undefeated in Metro Lakes Conference standings.
"I certainly didn't expect another overtime game," Zebra coach Mark Campbell said. "These games are fun to watch, but they are very stressful for the coaches."
As was the case Jan. 21 during a 59-53 victory at Coweta, the Lady Zebras were forced late in the fourth quarter to come from behind. Mandi Walker made two free throws for a 47-47 tie with 12 seconds left on the clock.
Coweta's Amy Summer tried to win on a 3-point attempt from the left corner. It fell short and the buzzer sounded before anyone could come up with the ball.
Held to four points over the first three quarters, Skimbo used the free-throw line in the fourth and overtime periods to punish the Lady Tigers. She was 13 of 15 at the line while pumping in 19 points during the final 12 minutes of play.
Ashley Mills, the game's leading scorer with 24, tried to match Skimbo in the overtime. She managed to score nine, including a trey that tied the game at 52.
Claremore took the lead for keeps with 1:57 to play as Skimbo connected of two free throws. She then iced the victory by hitting six more down the stretch.
The Lady Tigers entered the overtime without two starters who had fouled out late in regulation.
Except for a 7-0 start by the Lady Zebras, the two teams stayed within five points of each other the rest of the way. The lead switched sides six times and the score was tied on eight occasions.
Claremore was on top the entire first half. Mills, actually a nonstarter, gave Coweta its first lead with a basket to open the third quarter. Then, to start the fourth tied at 35-35, Summer drilled home a trey. A key booster, this allowed the Lady Tigers an edge that made Claremore play catch-up.
Skimbo created a 45-45 tie and Walker extended play with her timely free throws, but Claremore couldn't go in front anywhere in the fourth period.
Walker and Logan Froese backed Skimbo's 23 points with 17 each.
"Mandi had seven straight defensive rebounds to start the game.That is big for us because she hasn't been getting them," Campbell said. "The girls played good on both offense and defense. We had some turnovers and too many of them were unforced. We must eliminate that."
Siera Barnwell drew praise from her coach with her ball-handling ability.
Claremore is 14-1 for the year and 9-0 in Metro Lakes play. Coweta is 13-4 and 5-2.
The Coweta boys hit eight of 10 fourth-quarter free throws and managed a split as they dropped Claremore, 50-37.
Brice Lively added up 10 of his 19 points in the second quarter as the Tigers (13-5) took command by building a 27-19 halftime edge.
The Zebras (8-9) cut the deficit by two in the third quarter, but could only pull to within four points.
That came on a 3-point shot by Alex Miller near the end of the period. Claremore trailed, 35-31, at that point, but Chris Winfield followed with a pair of Coweta free throws. This made it a six-point game going into the fourth.
A come-from-behind bid fell short for the Zebras as they were able to add one more field goal. It came from Robert Boyles. The remaining four team points were at the foul line.
At the same time, Coweta managed only two baskets, but one was a 3-pointer by Lively. Added to the late free-throw success, the Tigers had what they needed. They ended the game on a 9-2 run.
Lively was one of nine Tigers scoring.
Miller's 15 points topped the Claremore side.
CLAREMORE 63, COWETA 58
Coweta 8 13 14 12 11 — 58
Claremore 11 11 13 12 16 — 63
Coweta — Mills 24, Smith 9, Selvidge 8, Bryan 6, Summer 6, Morgan 5.
Claremore — Skimbo 23, Walker 17, Froese 17, Barnwell 3, Bowen 3.
COWETA 50, CLAREMORE 37
Coweta 6 21 10 13 — 50
Claremore 7 12 12 6 — 37
Coweta — Lively 19, Burkdoll 9, A.Webber 5, Winfield 5, Smith 4, Pruitt 2, M.Webber 2, Poplin 2, McClure 2.
Claremore — Miller 15, James 9, Riley 5, Boyles 5, Jordan 2, Moseley 1.