Jan. 25—ATOKA — The Latta High School girls basketball team dropped back-to-back decisions to ranked teams to finish up at the 2023 Wampus Cat Classic.
Latta fell to Class 3A no. 8 Kingston 51-39 in Saturday's third-place game. The Lady Panthers were defeated by Class 3A No. 4 Idabel 47-36 in a Friday semifinal battle.
Coach Clay Plunk's team is 9-11 heading into a Friday night home contest with Atoka. Tuesday's trip to Konawa was canceled due to inclement weather.
Idabel won the Wampus Cat Classic title and improved to 15-1 on the year. Kingston left town at 11-4.
Saturday, Jan. 21
Kingston 51, Latta 39
Kingston made five 3-point shots in the first half and Plunk said that made a big difference in the game.
The Lady Redskins lead 16-13 after the first quarter and 32-24 at halftime.
"We let them get too many open looks from three. We knew they had good shooters and didn't close out tight enough in the first half," Plunk said. "We made the adjustment and only gave up one in the second half."
Latta freshman Paislee Anderson had one of the best games of her career, hitting four 3-point baskets for all of her team-high 12 points. Sophomore Savannah Senkel just missed double figures with nine points for the Lady Panthers, who were without freshman guard Kelbey Parnacher.
Jolee Myers, another freshman, hit a pair of 3-point baskets and scored six points for Latta.
"Without Kelbey, we had to have some others step up, and they did in a big way," Plunk said.
"Brooklyn (Ryan) shouldered the ball-handling load and got her teammates great looks in transition and they took advantage. Paislee and Jolee knocked down big shots to keep us in the game and Savannah was more aggressive and got herself some good looks."
Emily Belletini led the Kingston offense with 16 points. Olivia Quapaw followed with 14 points and sank four 3-point baskets. Kamry Bohannon scored 10 in the balanced KHS attack, while Lanie French hit a pair of triples and scored seven points for Kingston.
"We never want to lose, but we found something tonight that we can build on as we near the playoffs," Plunk said.
Friday, Jan. 20
Idabel 47, Latta 36
The Lady Warriors jumped out to leads of 13-9 and 27-15 in the first half. Latta answered with a 15-11 run in the third period to get within 38-30 but couldn't complete the comeback.
"We let them get out in transition on us early and get a few easy buckets and missed some opportunities to score in the first half," Plunk said. "We defended them better in the second half, but couldn't get timely shots to fall.
Mercedes Lopes led Idabel with 24 points. Mary Carden — a 6-7 IHS post player — was next with 13 points.
"We did what we could, but 6'6" is not something we can simulate in practice. She (Carden) demands so much attention inside that her guards got good looks at the rim and took advantage," Plunk said.
Kate Williams knocked down a trio of 3-pointers and led the Latta offense with 12 points. Brooklyn Ryan was next with 10 points and Kelbey Parnacher followed with seven points and five assists. Jolee Myers sank a 3-pointer for the locals.