February 10 Season Update

Bixby’s Girls Split Conference Contests

 By Ron Holt

After a sluggish start offensively, Bixby High’s short-handed girls steadily battled back before dropping a 42-39 Frontier Valley Conference decision to Jenks last Friday (Feb. 10) at Whitey Ford Field House.

The Lady Spartans impressively opened the week last Monday (Feb. 6) by avenging an early season loss to visiting Muskogee, 59-51, also in a conference contest.

Bixby, which played without injured senior guard Kyndal Pirtle, went 0-for-10 from the field in the first quarter, falling behind Jenks, 10-3.

The cold-shooting followed BHS into the second quarter as the Lady Trojans built up a 15-3 lead before Bixby came to life, using a three-pointer by sophomore Dariann Myles and a rebound put-back by Maddie Bittle to narrow the deficit to 23-12 at halftime.

Field goals by Sarah Tyree, Sydney Page and Bittle got Bixby within 23-18 with 4:03 left in the third quarter and a three-pointer by Myles with 38 seconds showing got the Lady Spartans within 33-26 going into the fourth quarter.

Myles, who finished with five three-pointers, drained back-to-back treys early in the fourth quarter to make it a 34-32 game. Trailing 39-32 with 4:54 left, Bixby used a jumper by Bittle and another three-pointer by Myles to trim the gap to 39-37 but Jenks was able to hold off the hosts down the stretch.

Myles, who recently returned to the lineup for the first time this season after an injury, led the Lady Spartans in scoring with 15 points. Bittle added 13, Page and Tyree five each and Kennedy Brown one. Haley Meely’s 14 points topped Jenks.

“We shot 12 percent the first half and I thought we played terrible defense early, allowing them to dribble to the goal. On a positive note, they battled back to give themselves a chance to win. We’ve just got to step up and play,” said Lady Spartan head coach Tina Thomas.

“We turned the ball over too much and were six-for-13 from the free throw line. That’s the second time we’ve played Jenks without Kyndal Pirtle. That disrupts the flow of our entire system because she manages us and keeps us organized. We missed her,” she added.

“Dariann gave us all she had and hit big shots to give us a chance. Defensively, she struggles because she doesn’t have full movement yet. She just sees the floor so well and even though she’s not in shape yet she helps us. She’s worked hard in rehab.”

A 24-point outing by sophomore Savanna Stout paved the way for the Lady Spartans in the victory over visiting Muskogee. Stout’s performance was needed after Pirtle suffered a sprained ankle in the first half.

“Stout had a great night all the way around. She took the ball to the hole well, shot the ball well and made good decisions,” Coach Thomas said.

Bixby trailed 29-28 at halftime but outscored the Lady Roughers, 16-7, in the third quarter to take a lead the Lady Spartans never relinquished.

“I felt good about the resiliency they showed tonight. When Kyndal went down early they didn’t let it affect them. That was a psychological battle that I felt like they won,” Coach Thomas said. “We had periods where we executed reallly well and in general I thought they kept their composure and stuck with the plan.

“We’ve made steady improvement and I was really proud of their effort tonight. This is a good, hard-working bunch. We’ve had few victories but they still show up, roll up their sleeves and go to work and do it with a really good spirit. I just want to get better every game in time for the playoffs.”

Stout finished with six field goals, including three treys, in recording her career-best scoring night.  She drained a closely-guard three-pointer as the first half buzzer sounded to trim Muskogee’s lead to one point.

“I felt great the whole time tonight. I just felt like I would do my best,” Stout said afterward. “We’ve been working on executing our offense. That helped us get open and we weren’t forcing our shots.

“We’ve been working really well together … we’ve gotten better since the start of the season. If we lost it’s not by a lot,” she added.

Bittle finished with 12 points and Tyree contributed 10 against Muskogee. Others scoring were Myles with five, Cassidy Sloan with four and Brown and Kaylee Blankenship with two each.

Bixby returns to action Tuesday (Feb. 14) at Bartlesville and hosts Sand Springs on Friday (Feb. 17).

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