OOLOGAH – Claremore used its size advantage inside and the inspired play of senior Hailey Grant to beat Berryhill for third-place in the Oologah Invitational Tournament on Monday.
The 6-foot-1 Grant scored 29 points on 11-of-18 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds in the Lady Zebras’ 55-47 victory, bringing their record to 5-4. Maddie Herdage, 6-2, added 8 points as Claremore dominated underneath for layups and short jumpers.
“We played together and shared the basketball,’’ said CHS coach Michael Hughes, whose Z’s hit 54 percent from the floor and made 5-of-8 treys. “We made better decisions this time. We could have caved, but we did things late that we haven’t done in other games.’’
Claremore fell behind by seven early, went up by 12 and then saw the Maidens rally once more to lead 39-37 late in the third period. Grant answered by nailing 3-of-4 field attempts in final quarter, leading the Zebras to 83 percent shooting in the frame.
“Hailey has the ability, but it’s been tough for her and her family with what’s been going on. Her mother is in the hospital,” Hughes said. “I can’t say enough about her, the way she showed up and showed out.
“Berryhill is a good team, and they made big shots that got them back in the game, but we’re getting better. That’s the main thing. I just wish we could rebound a little better.’’
The Zebras took a 40-39 lead into the fourth quarter on a 3 by Chloe Dennis and never let up. Another trey from the 5-6 senior made it 47-41 with 6:14 remaining, and Grace Bump drove for a layup, giving her team a 53-45 edge.
A pair of free throws from sophomore Kylie Ohman with 46 seconds left sealed the win.
Down 9-2 in the opening period, Claremore erupted for an 18-2 run. Berryhill tried a man-to-man, 1-2-2 zone and pressure defenses to combat the Lady Z’s spree.
The Maidens controlled the third quarter before CHS regrouped to send them to their fourth loss in 10 games.