Lady Savages Stay Alive Through Messy Regionals


Countywide and Sun/Jacob Factor

Shantel Evans grapples for a rebound in the Newcastle regional game.

The Tecumseh Lady Savages are a young team and they have surprised many with the season they've had thus far. The Tecumseh ladies had a very nice regular season and it continues into the postseason as they have made it to the Area Tournament beginning today (Thursday) in Washington.

The Lady Savages opened the playoffs with a District Title at home as they plowed Madill for an easy win to move to the winner's bracket of the Regional Tournament. Here's where it gets tough for the Lady Savages as they faced 10th-ranked Newcastle on the Lady Racers' home floor last Thursday night. It wasn't pretty.

Too many turnovers (24), along with some questionable calls, led to the downfall of the Lady Savages at Newcastle. The Lady Savages were perfect at the free throw line, but they only made the trip five times in the game while the host school went to the charity stripe 24 times and hit 19 of them.

But the real problem for the Lady Savages was the giveaways. The turnovers kept the Lady Savages from finding an offensive rhythm. Tecumseh shot the ball well on the night, 53 percent from the floor, but just couldn't get enough shots due to the turnovers.

Newcastle jumped out early to a 17-7 first quarter lead as the Lady Savages committed nine turnovers in the first quarter alone. Tecumseh clawed its way back in the second quarter with a 14-13 advantage, but the Racers shot 10 from the stripe while the Lady Savages were awarded two as Tecumseh went to the locker room down 30-21.

More turnovers and a bad shooting quarter by the Lady Savages allowed the Lady Racers to double them up 16-8 as Newcastle took a 46-29 lead to the final quarter. Tecumseh won the fourth quarter, but the damage was done as they fell to the consolation bracket with a 57-43 loss.

Katelyn LaFrance came alive in the second half and led the Lady Savages by scoring with 13 points. Kenzli Warden tallied nine points for Tecumseh and Tawny Billy added seven. Taylor Mansell dropped in five points while Schantel Evans tossed in four.

After such a disappointing loss, the Lady Savages needed to bounce back to keep their season alive, and the T-Town ladies did just that. The games weren't a pretty brand of basketball, but the Lady Savages fought hard and did what they needed to do to advance to the Area Tournament.

On Friday night the Lady Savages faced an Idabel team with a 3-17 record on the season. Tecumseh took control early and it seemed they would coast.

After leading 15-5 after the first quarter, the turnover bug bit the Lady Savages with nine turnovers in the second quarter as Idabel outscored Tecumseh 16-10 to cut the lead to four points at halftime.

In the third quarter, the Lady Savages got the turnovers under control and really took the upper hand with a 13-1 third period and a 38-22 lead headed to the final quarter.

Tecumseh doubled up the Lady Warriors 18-9 in the fourth as the Lady Savages went to the free throw line 16 times in the quarter and knocked down 13 of them to coast, kind of, to a 56-31 win and move to the Regional Consolation Finals on Saturday afternoon.

Warden led the Lady Savages with 19 points in the win and was joined in double figures by LaFrance and Evans with 12 and nine points respectively. Billy poured in nine points for the Lady Savages while Mansell had four points.

After two tough, physical games the two previous nights, the Lady Savages had to muster enough stamina to face Pauls Valley. With both teams playing on two game old legs, it would be a matter of will and the Lady Savages won a barnburner in the end.

The two teams ground out a first quarter to a 5-5 tie as sluggishness showed on both sides. Late in the second quarter, the Lady Savage offense came to life and Tecumseh took a 20-10 lead into halftime and seemed to be on their way to an easy win.

It turned out to be anything but easy as the Lady Panthers smothered the Lady Savages defensively and forced more Tecumseh turnovers (23 total). Pauls Valley, which struggled mightily on offense in the first half, started hitting everything from outside and outpaced Tecumseh 15-6 in the third, cutting the Lady Savage lead to 26-25 headed to the fourth.

In the fourth, the Lady Savages continued to struggle handling the ball, but were able to maintain the lead, even though it got close. With just over two minutes left, the Lady Savages had edged ahead 34-29, but the Lady Panthers kept coming back.

The Lady Savages lead had dwindled to two points, 34-32, with 27.9-seconds on the clock. With 9.3 seconds left on the clock, Tecumseh led 36-33 and a trey by Pauls Valley would tie it up. Warden was fouled and went to the line and sank two free throws to give the Lady Savages the breathing room they needed at 38-33 and gave Tecumseh the Consolation Title.

Warden was the leader on offense with 15 points and was the only player in double figures. Evans had nine points and Billy chipped with eight. LaFrance had four points as only four T-Town players scored in the 38-33 win.

The Lady Savages did excel in one stat over the three-game span as they outrebounded each team and overall by a whopping 94-42 margin. More than doubling up the other teams' rebounding total probably kept Tecumseh moving on.

Evans and Billy were the leaders on the glass over the tournament with 22 rebounds apiece. Warden pulled down 15 while Mansell and LaFrance grabbed 12 and 10 respectively.

The Lady Savages (16-11) play in the first round of the Area Tournament today (Thursday) as they face Bishop McGuiness at 1:30 pm in Washington. With a win, the Lady Savages would face the winner of the Plainview-Muldrow game on Friday.

With a win on Friday, Tecumseh would play Saturday at 6:30 pm and meet the loser of the Newcastle-Classen SAS game for a trip to the State Tournament.

Countywide and Sun/Jacob Factor

Taylor Mansell on defense in the Newcastle game.


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