Claremore freshman guard Cherokee Gott tallied a game-high 14 points as the Lady Zebras held off the Catoosa Lady Indians, 53-42, Friday afternoon in the consolation semifinals of the Port City Classic.
Gott scored nine of her 14 points in the first half as Claremore built a 23-17 lead at halfitme.
The win over Catoosa improved the Lady Zebras to 8-7 on the season and moved Claremore into the consolation finals Saturday afternoon against Victory Christian.
Despite the good times that the Lady Zebras enjoyed with the win, head coach Stephanie Shaw saw another one of her players go down with a knee injury.
After freshman starting guard Monica Taylor injured her knee in the third quarter of last Tuesday’s loss at Oologah, junior guard Alex Crews went down with 1:55 left in the first quarter Friday against Catoosa.
It’s not sure if Crews sustained a season-ending knee injury, but she did not return in Claremore’s win over Catoosa.
“What a frustrating game,” Shaw said. “It seemed like we couldn’t do anything defensively without fouling. In a game where there is 50 free throw attempts, there’s just no rhythm to the game and we are a rhythm team.”
Catoosa converted 21-of-30 free throws and cut Claremore’s lead to 45-42 with 2:57 left in the fourth quarter.
“Give credit to Catoosa. They had a great game plan,” Shaw said.
Claremore finished the game on an 8-0 run with Kaleigh Cox and Tristin Reynolds knocking down free throws.
Anna McGuire’s basket in the paint off the assist from Ashlyn Glenn put Claremore ahead 45-38 with 3:19 left.
Shaw added that she was impressed with the break-through performances of Gott and Tristin Reynolds.
“Every freshman, I don’t care whether it’s high school or college, has that break through game and tonight was definitely Cherokee’s,” Shaw said.
“She finally stopped thinking so much and just started to play and knocking down shots when we needed them.”
Reynolds saw valuable minutes throughout the game after the injury to Crews.
“Tristin was also huge in the game today. For a kid that missed the last two games because she had the flu and to come in and play that hard, knock down key shots and go 6 for 7 from the free throw line and get some big rebounds, is huge,” Shaw said.
Along with Gott, Cox scored in double figures with 11 points to lead the Lady Zebras.
Reynolds also contributed with eight points, while Glenn and McGuire responded with seven apiece.
Morgan Johnson followed with three points, Alison Howell had two and Bailey Steckline finished with one for Claremore.
Kayla Jones led Catoosa with 11 points.
“You gotta give this team so much credit. They always find a way to come together and fight through whatever adversity,” Shaw said.