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Stealing the show

February 18, 2024 - 00:00
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Lady Jacket freshmen step up as KHS beats Woodward on the road

  • Stealing the show
    KHS FRESHMAN Maya Haney (1) steps out to defend a Woodward ballhandler during the Lady Jackets’ 40-25 victory last week. Haney had five steals and seven rebounds in her first career start. [Photo by Russell Stitt/www.stitt.]
  • Stealing the show
    SITTING WOUNDED – With three injured starters in street clothes behind her, KHS girls head coach Taylor Young calls out a play during the team’s win at Woodward on Tuesday. [Photo by Russell Stitt/]
  • Stealing the show
    Junior Raegan Snider (with ball) led KHS with 22 points in Tuesday’s win at Woodward. [Photo by Russell Stitt/ www. stitt. smugmug. com]

Missing three starters for the regular season finale was expected to make Kingfisher’s battle with Woodward an uphill climb.

Someone forgot to tell three freshmen. With two seniors and a junior watching in street clothes, the Lady Jackets won their 13th straight game Tuesday with a 40-25 victory at Woodward.

Out were Peyton Walker (foot), Addy Matthews (ankle) and Talor Mecklenburg (hip), a trio that’s been starting most of the season.

In their place in the starting lineup were Adlee Friesen, Mattie Slezickey and Maya Haney.

Friesen and Slezickey both have limited starts this season while Haney was starting for the first time.

None of the three left the court, playing all 32 minutes as KHS wrapped up its regular season with a 19-4 mark.

“I was really proud of them,” said coach Taylor Young. “My favorite thing about that group of freshmen is the LOVE to compete and are not afraid of anything or anyone.”

Shortly after Raegan Snider opened the game with a bucket in the paint, Haney stole the ball from Jocelyn Treece on the press.

Kingfisher didn’t score on the ensuing possession, but it was a sign of things to come.

Haney and Slezickey wreaked havoc at the top of Kingfisher press and halfcourt defense.

The two combined for eight steals and six more deflections as Woodward committed 20 turnovers overall.

The Lady Boomers were held to 31.3 percent shooting on the home floor.

Slezickey had to take over point guard duties in Walker’s absence. She responded with six points on offense and had three steals and three deflections on defense.

Haney had five steals, three assists - two of them to Slezickey for layups off of pressure the two combined to create - and was second on the team with seven rebounds.

While those two did work around the perimeter, Friesen more than held her own inside.

She led the team with nine boards to go with three points, two assists and a steal.

With Friesen and Haney leading the charge, Kingfisher out-rebounded its hosts 28-18.

The Lady Jackets had 13 offensive boards, five of them by Friesen.

“All three of them have a combination of speed, athleticism and competitiveness about them that is hard to find in freshmen,” Young said.

KHS led 11-6 after a quarter and saw it trimmed to 18-14 by halftime.

But the Lady Jackets took a stranglehold on the game in the third, outscoring Woodward 13-2.

Raegan Snider and Abbie Myers - Kingfisher’s two regular starters who were in the lineup - combined for 11 of Kingfisher’s points in the third.

Myers ended her night with seven points, three rebounds and three steals.

Snider continued her recent dominance.

The junior notched 22 points and consistently aided the guards in breaking Woodward’s pressure.

Up by 15 going into the fourth, Kingfisher didn’t let Woodward sniff a comeback.

Snider went 5 of 6 at the line to help the cause.

Young said the trio of freshmen could be called upon again this season as the full healthy return of the likes of Walker and Matthews was still up in the air.

However, she said, the minutes they played Tuesday will benefit them well beyond these playoffs.

“The varsity minutes they are getting this year are building blocks to bigger roles leading into next year,” she said.

Boomers thwart KHS comeback attempt

A comeback and the opportunity to beat a team for the second time this season fell short in one night.

Woodward’s Connor Price sank two free throws with 4.7 seconds left Tuesday to put the game out of reach in a 54-49 victory for the Boomers over Kingfi sher.

The loss ended Kingfisher’s regular season at 6-17.

The Jackets got their first win of the season against the very same team on the very same court.

That came on Dec. 7 when KHS slipped past the Boomers 54-50 in Woodward’s annual tournament.

It appeared early on KHS may be headed for a repeat victory.

Jhett Birdwell and Coleman Gilles scored four each as the Jackets led 12-8 after a quarter.

They maintained a lead until the buzzer that signaled halftime.

That’s when Carter Reid banked in a 3-pointer to put the Boomers up 24-22.

The home team carried that momentum into the early part of the third quarter and built a lead as big as 12 points, which it took into the fourth.

That’s when the Jackets began to mount their comeback.

They had it cut in half by the midway point and were down 45-39 with 2:55 remaining when Jake Reagan fouled out with seven points.

Woodward got it back to eight points with under a minute to play before Birdwell cut it to 49-44 with a 3-pointer with 38.7 seconds left.

It was his second trey of the quarter.

Kingfisher caught a break when Reid missed two free throws with just over 10 seconds left, keeping it a two-possession game.

Matthew Mecklenburg answered on the other end with a 3-pointer with 6.2 seconds to go, prompting Kingfisher to call its final timeout.

But the Jackets couldn’t pull off the unlikely comeback as Woodward got the ball in to Price, who was fouled with less than five seconds to play.

He was 6 of 8 from the foul line in the fourth. The team was 10 of 16 in that final period.

The Boomers were led by Ethen Neill’s 19 points.

Birdwell paced the Jackets with 14.

Gilles scored 13 while Mecklenburg joined Reagan in scoring seven.