By JASON EPP
Leader & Times
TURPIN, Okla., - The Turpin Lady Cardinals started strong, weathered a comeback, and finished strong to take down the Tyrone Lady Bobcats, 57-41.
"It had been a long time coming, and I want to thank my players for sticking together and playing hard," Lady Cardinals coach Jeff Funk said. "There were times they could have given up. Tonight we found a way to win, and it feels really good."
After winning their season opener, Turpin lost 14 games in a row.
"I think we underestimated them; just the mood of the girls," Lady Bobcats coach Hope Cox said. "They looked at the record, and thought they could just play and go through the motions, but I had a feeling we couldn't just do that."
Turpin burst out of the gate to a 12-0 lead. Turpin finished the quarter with a 6-0 run that gave the Lady Cardinals a commanding 18-4 lead. Alyssa Kinser provided instant offense, hitting two threes and scoring 8 of her 11 in the first quarter.
Tyrone cut the lead back to 10 with a 6-0 run, but Turpin answered right back with an 8-0 run to make the score, 28-11. Raegan Alvarez hit her first of four threes in the final minute of the half to put Turpin up 31-13. Alvarez had 13 at half.
"That was a good first half," Funk said. "The key was we were hitting shots and when that happens, things go a lot easier. Sometimes we've relied on the outside shot too much. I've told them that if it's not there we have to penetrate. We've done that the last few games. It's worked much better for us to penetrate and draw fouls."
The tide began to turn in favor of Tyrone midway through the third quarter. With Turpin leading 34-17 with just over four minutes left in the third, the Lady Bobcats went on a 14-3 run, highlighted by Rayna Wall's (11 points) three-point play, to cut the gap to just six with 1:18 still left in the third.
"I told Coach Parker and Coach Jones we've got to find a way to win this one we've worked too hard and come too far to let this one slip away," Funk said.
And Turpin finished strong, going on a 14-1 run over the next 3:26. Alvarez scored 12 during the run, including two threes that put Turpin up 51-32 with 5:42 left.
"I think the problem we had in the fourth was that Turpin came out and scored several quick baskets and we didn't ever recover," Cox said.
Tyrone's Tori Dumler (16 points) hit her second and third threes in the final minutes, but the large lead was too much to overcome, and Turpin was able to end their streak with a 16-point win.
Both teams will be at the Texhoma Tournament tomorrow for first round games. Turpin (2-14) takes on undefeated, Class B No.3 Balko at 4 p.m. Tyrone (6-10) will face tournament host Texhoma at 6:30 p.m.
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