OKLAHOMA CITY – The Colbert Lady Leopards’ magical run through the 2A playoffs came to a bittersweet end Thursday at Westmoore High School, as the Alva LadyBugs outlasted Colbert 53-45.
A critical third quarter stretch helped Alva get the win, and the LadyBugs never led by more than 10 points. In fact the lead went back and forth until the third quarter run paced by Bailey Forell’s eight points. Alva’s Jaden Hobbs led all scorers with 26.
But Colbert’s run to the state quarterfinals – which included a pair of regular season tournament wins and trophies for district, regional and area championships – helped return Lady Leopards basketball to its winning tradition.
“These girls had a hunger to win,” said Colbert Coach Chris Gillespie. “Getting here is not the final goal, but it’s big and it’s hard to attain.”
The state tournament is still a fitting send-off for the senior starting five, who played all but a handful of minutes on Thursday. Final stats from the game: Katherine Hair 14 points, Ginavee Mowles 11 points, Taylor Lyons nine points and seven rebounds, Darian Bradford six points, three assists and three steals, Bailee Weger five points.
The girls also threw a first half block party with Mowles, Hair and Weger collecting four blocked shots which helped put pressure on Alva shooters. But the Ladybug defense smothered Colbert in the second half.
“In the middle of the third quarter, we started breaking down defensively,” Gillespie said. “And offensively, we just didn’t run anything.”
Attention now turns to the returning players who must “decide if they want to continue the legacy,” Gillespie said. This will include juniors Maddison Poteet, Breawna McCraw, Samantha Cummins and Rachel Anders; sophomores Taytiana Gray and Gwenisha Love; and freshmen Haylie McGowan, Kayla Layton, Krista Conner and Chanda Sinor.
Judging by the sea of maroon-clad fans in the stands at Westmoore on Thursday, all of Colbert will be rooting for these girls when November comes.