By Ron Holt
Solid, consistent effort in all phases sparked Bixby’s Lady Spartans to an 80-58 Frontier Valley Conference victory over visiting Broken Arrow last Friday night in Whitey Ford Field House.
Coach Tina Thomas’ Lady Spartans celebrated the return to the court by improving to 12-4 overall and to 6-0 in conference play. BA dropped to 5-7 and 2-4.
The Lady Spartans were crisp from the start despite a lack of playing time since the Union game more than a week ago was postponed. They impressively shared the ball, displayed accurate shooting inside and outside while competing defensively against the Lady Tigers.
Two Lady Spartans – sophomore Gracy Wernli and senior Kate Bradley – finished with varsity career-highs of 25 and 24 points, respectively.
An 8-0 run midway through the first quarter lifted BHS to a 13-5 lead which grew to 21-12 entering the second quarter. Leading 23-16 with seven minutes left, Bixby used a 13-0 run to roll to a 44-25 lead at halftime.
Wernli and Bradley each scored 13 first half points while sophomore guard Gentry Baldwin sank nine points, Alyssa Nielsen five and Meredith Mayes four.
Bradley converted a conventional three-point play as the Lady Spartans’ lead grew to 47-27 with 7:26 showing in the third quarter. Four straight baskets by Wernli gave the hosts a 51-30 lead. Bixby was in control the remainder of the stanza, taking a 69-39 lead entering the fourth quarter.
“Even though we haven’t had games recently, we haven’t had one lag of their intensity during practice, which is really remarkable. These girls come in, put on work boots every day ready to work,” Coach Thomas said. “These girls are in sync and they are hungry. They work hard to get better … they are a fun group to work with.”
Wernli, who sank five three-pointers, ended with 25 points while Bradley, who also drained five treys, ended with 24 points. Mayes contributed 11 points, Baldwin had 10, Nielsen eight and senior Jyllian Mays added five points.
“I was very happy when I hit the first shot. I felt good tonight,” Wernli said. “We were all so antsy to play. I don’t know how we kept our energy in practice going that long without playing. We just did what we needed to do tonight.
“Every practice we try to get better, we’re looking at the bigger picture, but we know we’ve got to keep winning. Our passing tonight was insane … if someone had a good shot but someone else had a better shot. we got to the ball to them.
“I’m so pleased with our team. I think everyone was so excited we just brought the energy. We don’t take getting to play games for granted, she added.
Taleyah Jones led Broken Arrow with 21 points while Grace Pippett scored 12 points.
NOTES – Bixby returns to action Tuesday, February 2, when the Lady Spartans visit No. 16 Muskogee (6-7). The Lady Spartans host No. 18 Jenks (6-10) in a Frontier Valley Conference game Friday, February 6. …Senior Night will be celebrated in between the girls’ and boys’ games with Jenks Friday with Lady Spartan and Spartan senior players and their parents recognized. … The Lady Spartans are on a four-game winning streak. … Several Lady Spartan reserves saw playing time in the fourth quarter against BA.
BIXBY 80, BROKEN ARROW 53
Broken Arrow 12 13 14 14-53
Bixby 21 23 25 14-83
Bixby Scoring – Wernli 25, Bradley 24, Mayes 11, Baldwin 10, Nielsen 8, Mays 5.