With 2.5 seconds remaining in regulation, the Claremore Lady Zebras had a chance to continue their run to the Class 5A State Tournament.
Kaleigh Cox’s fast-break layup in heavy pressure fell short as the Claremore Lady Zebras ended their season with a 43-42 heartbreaking loss to No. 14 Tulsa Memorial Thursday night in the regional tournament at Tulsa Edison High School.
Claremore finished the season with a 12-11 overall record under first-year head coach Stephanie Shaw.
“We’re sad that it’s over but the future is definitely bright,” Shaw said after the game. “I’m super proud of this team and how far we’ve come this year.”
Claremore came out blazing, hitting five treys in the first half to lead 23-14 at halftime.
Freshmen guards Cherokee Gott and Monica Taylor keyed the first-half spark with explosive shooting from the perimeter.
Gott helped Claremore take a 14-6 lead in the first quarter, scoring eight points with back-to-back treys.
Taylor came off the bench in the second quarter and matched her teammate with a pair of three-pointers against Memorial’s zone defense.
The two guards combined for 17 of the Lady Zebras’ 23 points in the first 16 minutes.
Early on, the key to Claremore’s success was getting Memorial into foul trouble.
Memorial’s leading scorer Faith Ihim was held to two points despite committing three fouls in the first half.
The second-half, however, told a different story as Memorial’s inside game proved to be a difference against the guard-laden Lady Zebras.
Memorial outscored the Lady Zebras, 11-7 in the third quarter and narrowed the deficit to 30-25.
Memorial’s defensive pressure held Claremore’s leading scorer Ashlyn Glenn scoreless through three quarters of action.
After Memorial tied the game at 30, Gott and Taylor extended the lead to 36-30 with back-to-back treys.
Memorial’s Sarah Short converted a three-point play in the paint and the Lady Chargers’ rallied to 36-35 with 3:42 remaining.
Claremore had a chance to seal the win before Short’s appearance at the charity stripe, but Gott missed four free throws.
Short put Memorial ahead 43-42 on a pair of free throws with 0:08 left.
Taylor led Claremore with 12 points and Gott finished with 11.
Ihim tallied 12 points and Alexia Reed added 11 to lead Memorial.