OOLOGAH – Oh what a frigid third period Berryhill suffered against Claremore in the opening round of the Oologah Tournament on Thursday. And even then the Lady Zebras were forced to struggle and hold on for a 50-44 victory over the Maidens at Mustang Arena.
Berryhill covered 8:23 without scoring, gave up 18 straight points and fell behind by 15 before a frantic dash to the finish nearly paid off.
“We knew they had kids who could hit threes. They always had a chance,’’ said CHS coach Whitney Jones, whose Z’s held Berryhill to 1-of-16 shooting in the third quarter. “They were cold in the third, but came back in the fourth. We kind of forgot they had some shooters on the floor, but I’ll take any win right now.’’
Claremore entered the game ranked 17th in Class 5A, but just 3-5 overall. The Maidens came in 3-7 and seemed ready to improve when guard Jaden Rosenquist swished a three-point shot, bringing Berryhill within 46-44 at 1:09. Hailey Grant and Sophie Stout cashed four-of-five foul shots in the final 48 seconds to seal it for the Z’s.
Stout closed with 19 points and Grant 15 to lead the victory. Rosenquist got 15 and Brooke Hutchings 14 for the Maidens.
“We were a little banged up,’’ Jones said of her team’s slow start. “Hailey Grant has a back injury and played with that today. Some of the girls are a little sore, but defensively we’re playing pretty well. We’re struggling to score, but defensively I couldn’t ask for much more.’’
Claremore started the second half leading 21-20 and opened a 35-20 bulge before Mackenzie Duncan’s layup gave Berryhill its only points of the third period. Jones said her team may have gotten “too comfortable’’ with a 35-22 advantage in the final quarter. She said the Zebras are working on coming out with more energy in the second half and they had just enough against the Maidens.
Berryhill carved out a 12-1 scoring burst, led by two treys from Rosenquist, to trim the Z’s lead to 42-39 with 2:34 remaining. Grant’s baseline bucket increased the lead to five and Claremore never needed another hoop, meshing 6-of-7 from the line in the last 1:33