Inside the Claremore High School Gym — especially in Metro Lakes Conference play — the Lady Zebras are tough to beat.
Under first-year head coach Stephanie Shaw, the Lady Zebras continued their home-court success in conference with a 45-38 win over Skiatook Tuesday night.
The win was even sweeter for the Lady Zebras not only because it stretched their league record to 7-1; but it also kept their hope alive for the conference championship.
Claremore relied on fundamentals to secure the win over Skiatook.
Basically, it came down to free throw shooting and defense.
The Lady Zebras converted 20-of-24 free throws and held Skiatook to four field goals in the second-half.
“Our defensive effort was much better this time around,” Shaw said, “but we’re also still having some break downs on what defense we’re in.”
Early on, both teams fought tooth-and-nail in the first quarter and played to an 8-8 tie.
Kaleigh Cox and Bailey Steckline combined to score 5 of the 8 points; while Skiatook freshman Mikayla Schulanberger proved to be a tough match-up.
Claremore extended its second-quarter lead to 12-9 on Steckline’s ability to cut through the lane and convert the assist from Ashlyn Glenn.
However, back-to-back layups by Schulanberger in transition put Skiatook in front at 13-12 with 5:22 remaining in the first half.
Steckline and Tristin Reynolds knocked down a pair of baskets in the paint to once again put the Lady Zebras up 16-13 with 4:14 remaining.
After Eden Henderson’s jumper narrowed the deficit to 16-15, Claremore freshman guard Cherokee Gott drained the three-pointer with 1:39 left in the first half to increase the Lady Zebras’ lead to 19-15.
Reynolds capped off the first-half scoring with a strong offensive putback and Claremore carried a 21-17 lead into halftime.
According to Shaw, “Skiatook runs the best match zone in the conference, and they’ve done a great job keeping most every team in the conference close.
“Obviously, we lost to them our second game of the year, and we went back and watched film on the game to see what we could do better.”
Steckline and Cox combined for 11 points in the first half to lead Claremore.
In the third quarter, Claremore took its biggest lead of the game at 30-20 on Morgan Johnson’s three-pointer with 58 seconds left.
Skiatook, however, got within five points at 43-38 on Henderson’s free throw shooting with 26 seconds left in the game.
Gott and Cox led Claremore with nine points each, and Anna McGuire followed with eight. Steckline and Reynolds also contributed with six each.
Schulanberger led Skiatook with 14.