GIRLS BASKETBALL: Hartshorne advances to state tournament

Derek Hatridge, McAlester News-Capital, Okla.
·3 min read

Mar. 7—SEMINOLE — The Lady Miners are heading to Oklahoma City.

Hartshorne faced Oklahoma Christian for the second time during the playoffs on Saturday for one of the final spots in the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association Class 2A Area IV consolation finals, with the Lady Miners taking the 59-38 win and punching their ticket to the state tournament.

Hartshorne coach Mark Woolard said he was proud of his team, especially coming off a tough loss from the night before to turn around and respond in 24 hours.

"I was really proud of them," he said. "Didn't know exactly how much the girls would bounce back, but the girls did a good job. We had a lot of energy that first quarter and got out of the gate, and it just kind of continued from there."

The Lady Miners got their offense going quickly, as Tiffany Wood used a short jump shot to put Hartshorne on the board first. The Lady Eagles would answer with a pair of free throws, but free throws by Alanna Williams and a triple by Jaylee Moore set the Lady Miners on a scoring run that would see Hartshorne leading 19-5 after the opening quarter.

In the second quarter, Moore was fouled on a made shot, and used the ensuing foul shot to get Hartshorne going once again. Later, Ashton Hackler nailed a triple of her own, followed by an assist to Courtney Sensibaugh under the bucket for two more.

The Lady Eagles responded with a nine point scoring run, but Hackler drove through traffic just before the buzzer to give Hartshorne the 32-18 lead at the half.

At the start of the second half, Oklahoma Christian nabbed a shot to get things started for its offense, but Hartshorne responded as Sensibaugh was sent to the free throw line and nailed both. She later followed that up with a bucket through traffic, and the Lady Miners put their foot down further on the accelerator.

But that's when defensive efforts set in for both teams, turning into a minutes-long scoring drought that was ended with a Hackler three from the left wing — leading to a 41-28 lead after three quarters.

In the final period, Oklahoma Christian tried cutting into the Hartshorne lead, but the Lady Miners had an answer for most anything that was thrown their way. They knew what was on the line, and used their tenacity and momentum to take the win and sail into the state tournament.

"It seemed like we always answered, and just kind of kept that cushion," Woolard said.

Hackler and Sensibaugh led the way with 15 points each, followed by Moore with 11 points, Williams with 10 points, and Wood with nine points.

Hartshorne advances to the state tournament for the fourth consecutive year and will be returning to Oklahoma City after having last year's tournament cancelled mere hours before tipoff due to COVID-19.

"I think we're going to play this one no matter what," Woolard said with a laugh.

State tournament brackets are set to be released by the OSSAA on Sunday. The first round of the Class 2A tournament will begin on Thursday at Noble, with the next two round to play over Friday and Saturday at the Big House.

Contact Derek Hatridge at dhatridge@mcalesternews.com.