By RICK YEARICK AND EARL WATT
• Daily Leader
In one of the biggest basketball games of 2009, Southwestern Heights had to hit a shot late to hold off the Forgan Lady Bulldogs.
This time, the Lady Mustangs were able to get some distance and hold off the No. 6 team in Oklahoma’s Class B, 68-41.
Forgan kept it close in the first quarter, playing strong defense and relying on freshman Kenzi Taylor who scored six in the first quarter to help the Lady Bulldogs stay within one, 11-10. The Lady Mustangs turned the ball over five times and struggled to shoot the ball early.
Usually the Lady Mustangs get off to a quick start and put the game away early, but the Bulldogs provided the toughest test in the first quarter Heights has had all season.
But the Lady Mustangs adjusted in the second quarter, and the Lady Mustang bench started to take a toll on the smaller line-up of the Bulldogs.
Heights held Forgan scoreless for more than four minutes to start the second quarter and started to take control.
Britny Butler hit a buzzer-beating shot to give the Lady Mustangs a 26-17 halftime lead.
The Lady Mustangs continued to utilize the bench in the second half to keep the energy and pressure high. Deni Jacobs scored eight of her game high 19 points in the third quarter during a Lady Mustang run that gave Heights a 47-30 lead.
The Lady Mustangs continued to outpace the Lady Bulldogs in the fourth. Taylor attempted to rally the Lady Bulldogs by scoring eight more in the fourth quarter, but the Lady Bulldogs couldn’t overcome the No. 1 Class 3A Lady Mustangs and fell 68-41.
Jacobs led the Lady Mustangs with 19 points, Butler had 16, Heidi Brown scored 15, and senior Bre Eaton came off the bench late to score four points.
For the Lady Bulldogs, Taylor scored 18 and Lindsey Trippet had 11.
“We played a well-coached team,” Lady Mustang coach Barry Mellen said. “We look forward to more games with them in the future. They are a quality team. Our depth was a plus. Everyone has to play hard and practice hard to get playing time, and that makes us a better team.”
Forgan coach Bret Trippet gave the Mustangs credit.
“I thought we were going to play a high school team, but that looked more like they should be playing colleges,” he said. “We played hard. We just were not athletic enough.”
Heights travels to Johnson to face Stanton County Friday. Tuesday, the Lady Mustangs will get a chance to redeem their only loss of 2009 when they travel to Beaver to face the Lady Dusters.