ALTUS — When the MacArthur girls hosted Altus on Jan. 28, the Highlanders trailed by 15 points in the second quarter before coming back to secure a nine-point victory.
While the deficit didn’t get that large this time, Mac waited until much later in the game to make their comeback. Down by seven with just five minutes left, the Highlanders clawed back, and thanks to key free free throws by juniors McKenzie Washington and Tamera Thomas, MacArthur left Altus with a 58-55 win.
MacArthur (14-7) trailed for majority of the ball game, and went into halftime down 32-24. And while Altus star Lakysia Johnson didn’t match her scoring output of 39 points from the teams’ previous meeting, Johnson still scored 27 points, nearly half of the Bulldogs’ total.
Even after Mac outscored the hosts 17-10 in the third quarter, Altus still was able to hold a seven-point lead with about five minutes left. But defensive pressure forced some carelessness by Altus, which Mac took advantage of.
“We played more zone this game,” MacArthur coach Otis Gentry said. “In the fourth quarter, we came alive, got a couple of turnovers that really helped out.”
After Mac had whittled the lead down to two, Washington hit a 3-pointer to put the Highlanders ahead by one. She and Thomas hit free throws late to help salt the game away, though it was another junior who shined the brightest.
Natalie Smith led Mac with 20 points, hitting a 3-pointer in each of the last two quarters. The junior trio of Smith, Washington and Thomas accounted for 41 of MacArthur’s 58 points. And while they might not be seniors in terms of graduating class, all three have been key contributors since they were freshmen. That experience and savvy, Gentry said, allows his team to win games like Tuesday’s game in Altus.
“To me, that’s really important. They have been stepping up,” Gentry said. “Tonight, Natalie was very clutch. McKenzie hit a clutch 3. We hit some clutch free throws. And the communication, the talking and rotation, it was great.”
Jerzey Ybarra and Brianna McQuiggan each had eight points for Altus, while Annie Petzold hit two 3-pointers for coach Stacie Terbush’s Bulldogs.
Ike falls to PC West for 4th loss in 5 games
Eisenhower never truly found a rhythm in Tuesday’s 62-36 road loss to Putnam City West. But that wasn’t what frustrated Ike coach Daniel Wall the most.
It was lack of intensity and effort, two things Ike has been built on in recent years, that left the coach saying it was “probably in the top two” of most disappointing losses of his coaching career.
“I can take getting beat, but if we’re not going to get after it and uphold the standard, you’re just not going to win,” Wall said.
Although it wasn’t the Putnam City West of years past, Wall said the reputation of the OKC school who has made the past three Class 6A state tournaments seemed to rattle his team.
“We were probably intimidated to be honest,” Wall said. “We walked on the court, saw PC West on their jersey and we were terrified. That’s how it felt.”
Although he said the team’s effort as a whole was lacking, Wall did praise Jamiya Morgan’s effort, especially when it came to her defensive intensity against PC West guard Sharonica Hartsfield, a former Lawton High star who has signed to play Division 1 hoops at Troy University.
“Jamiya came to play, I was real proud of her,” Wall said.
Eisenhower (10-8) hosts Lawton High for Senior Night on Friday.
MacArthur boys roll past Altus
Six players scored in double figures for MacArthur as the Highlanders handled Altus 83-32.
Leontaye McClennon had 17 points, while Arzhonte Dallas had 15 and Danquez Dawsey and Montez Edwards had 14 apiece.
Earl Moseby had 11 while Brandon Cowan had 10 off the bench.
Branson Ford led Altus with 10 points.