MacArthur girls made some critical free throws down the stretch to hold off a late Del City comeback bid, 54-52, to clinch the runner-up spot in District 5A-2 which earned the Lady Highlanders a home regional tournament that will begin in two weeks.
The Mac girls didn’t make things easy on themselves as they committed costly turnovers, including a lane violation that gave the Eagles a second chance after missing a free throw with less than 30 seconds remaining. However, the Eagles missed one free throw to keep Mac in front.
The difference at the end was two free throws that Mac’s Mia Curtis sank to seal the outcome. The Eagles still had a chance to get a late bucket and win but the full-court pass was high and they never were able to get off a shot.
Midwest City girls have locked up the 5A-2 title as the Bombers climbed to 11-0 with three games remaining. Mac girls are now 11-1 and Del City ended up-in third at 8-5 after losing to the Highlanders for the second time this season.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Mac boys were hearing the same old song, second verse from Coach Marco Gagliardi who just a week ago said, “my guys just have to learn to value every possession.”
And when you are playing an athletic team like Del City, it’s tough enough to score and when you limit your offense with turnovers the result is often going to be a loss, as was the case Tuesday at the Mac Gym in a 68-60 loss. The loss all but knocked the Highlanders out of the running to host a regional in two weeks.
The boys District 5A-2 race almost resembles the girls race with Midwest City owning the lead and Del City coming up with the win to stay im second. MacArthur will stay in third due to a big lead over the fourth-place team John Marshall.
Another issue that diminished the Highlanders’ ability to score was the early foul trouble that had Brennan Malone sitting on the bench for much of the second half with four fouls.
When he was on the court the Mac offense was much more explosive. Without him on the floor it took guys like Tykel Taylor coming up with big buckets like his nice layup with 1:42 left in the third quarter that got Mac within four, 49-45.
Mac got even close when Brown hit a follow-shot that cut the Del City lead to three, 53-50, with 4:40 remaining. But the Eagles made just enough shots to hold the Highlanders at bay.
The road doesn’t get any easier for the Mac teams as they hit the road to face Midwest City Friday.
Girls game tight
The girls game was close most of the night but when Alyssa Mack got going offensively in the second quarter the Highlanders pushed the lead to 10 before the Eagles climbed back into the game and it was tight the rest of the game.
Mack had a nice move inside the paint for a bucket and she was fouled on the play and finished with a conventional 3-point play to arrange a 30-22 halftime margin.
In the closing minutes of the third quarter Mac got sloppy with the ball, turning it over several times and most of those were self-imposed problems as the Eagles were playing their normal defense but still getting the Highlanders to turn the ball over three times in a one-minute span late in the third quarter.
The last of those turnovers allowed Del City’s Rainey Lewis to sink a trey for a 40-38 lead entering the final quarter.
The teams traded buckets in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter before Mack hit a pair of free throws that gave the Highlanders a 51-50 lead that they would not relinquish after that point.