Girls push defending champs

Mustang’s Jaycee Freshour goes up for a shot during a recent game. The Lady Broncos narrowly lost Tuesday to defending state champion Norman. They return to action Tuesday when they host Southmoore. Photo / Ron Lane

NORMAN — Mustang High’s girls basketball team threatened to upset the defending Class 6A state champion Norman Lady Tigers on their homecourt Tuesday night.
Mustang trailed most of the way but made it a nip-‘n-tuck contest in the second half. Mustang grabbed a 46-45 lead on Talia Pogi’s 3-pointer with 4:09 left in the game.
But the No. 2-ranked Lady Tigers (7-1) regained control with their guards pressuring Mustang, then Norman spread its offense and outscored Mustang 12-6 the rest of the way to win 57-52.
“We were right there. We’ll get there,” said a disappointed Mustang coach Katie Bass, whose team began the season ranked No. 12 in 6A but has lost four of its first five games and dropped to No. 15.
“We had some costly turnovers and didn’t attack the way we should’ve,” she added.
The Lady Tigers forced Mustang into six of its 17 turnovers in the fourth quarter, including three after Mustang took the lead.
Norman’s offense either got layups or drew fouls, and the Lady Tigers closed out the game cashing in nine of their last 10 free throws.
Chante Embry’s two foul shots helped Norman regain a 47-46 lead with 3:49 left. A steal and guard Kelbie Washington’s layup 19 ticks later boosted the lead to 49-46.
A baseline jumper by Kate Niehues and Pogi’s drive in the lane — sandwiched around Norman guard Mikayla Parks’ two charities — twice drew Mustang within a point, the last time at 51-50 with 1:23 to go.
But Wahington’s layup and two free throws apiece by Parks and Embry in the last 58 seconds settled the outcome.
Embry, a 6-foot-1 junior move-in, finished with 27 points. She had 15 points as the Lady Tigers opened a 29-25 halftime lead. Parks and Washington each finished with 13 points.
Pogi and Niehues had 13 and 12 points, respectively, and teammate Jaki Rollins added eight points for Mustang.
“I was proud of our team’s effort,” Bass said. “I thought we shared the ball well.”
The Lady Broncos’ next game will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, when they host Southmoore.

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