The Satanta Lady Indians got a rare win Saturday, beating the Ashland Lady Bluejays 61-51 on the final day of the 2018 SPIAA League Basketball Tournament.
It was only their second win of the season.
Though it wasn't by any stretch the Championship Game of this year's tournament, it gave the team a chance to keep improving as they look to the future.
"We always look forward right now," Indians head coach Janie Lutz said. "I tell my girls 'What's done in the past is done,' and so this goes as another win and it gives us another chance to keep looking forward and see if we can't get better and work harder in practice so we can play better."
This season hasn't always been easy for the Indians.
"We've had some tough games, but this showed me that they can play together and they can work together," Lutz said.
Satanta sophomore Ava Howie had an incredible game Saturday.
Ashland led 12-9 after the first quarter, but in the second Satanta pushed back, taking a lead in the first minute and holding it most of the second quarter before Ashland battled back to tie the game at 22-22 with 2:14 left. A Satanta free throw made the score 23-22 before Ashland sophomore Reese Grigsby tied the game at 23-23 with a free throw of her own near the end of the second quarter.
That's when Howie went to work.
After Grigsby's free throw, Howie hit a 3-pointer, two free throws, then another 3-pointer, scoring eight straight to give Satanta a 31-23 lead. Ashland scored one more 3-pointer before halftime, and Satanta took a 31-26 lead into the mid-game break.
Satanta broke the game open in the third quarter, and Howie had her share of it early. Satanta made the first two of three baskets to start the quarter, taking a 35-28 lead before Howie hit a 3, then another 2-pointer, scoring five straight.
That run helped push Satanta's lead to 40-28 with 5:13 left in the third, in route to a 20-7 quarter in the Indians' favor.
Howie had a game-high 23 points for the Indians. Junior Brooke Abernathy had 11, junior Tanna Anderson had nine, and senior Alex Howie had eight.
"Ava, the sophomore, has probably been one of my most-improved girls right now," Lutz said. "Ball-handling skills she's really worked on, she's worked on her composure and so that has helped her be able to stay in the game and not get in foul-trouble. She's one of those girls that I really like because she works hard. She works hard in practice for me now and now she's sees the benefits."
Ashland was led by senior Jacki Endicott, who had 15 points, and junior Paige Harris who had 14. Junior Dylan Solida had eight points, as did sophomore Reese Grigsby.
Saturday's game between the Ashland and Satanta girls basketball teams had a couple regularly-occurring themes. One was the way players without a lot of height played. The shortest players on either roster were listed at five feet, three inches tall. Yet the leading scorers for both teams were that exact height.
Another was the way fast-break points factored in. Even in the first quarter, when Satanta was trailing, junior Lizete Olivas was all over the place, making frequent blocks, which helped start offensive rushes.
Those fast breaks were a key deciding factor in the game, and Lutz said those are a priority for the team. It was good, she said, to see the team push the ball up the court more in a non-practice situation.
"It's something we've been working on and we want to be able to do more," Lutz said. "Today allowed us to be able to really work on (and) see it in the game. (It's) something we always work on in practice but it's not something I've always seen in the game."
Satanta - King 0, 0-0; Jaso 0, 0-0; B. Abernathy 11, 0-0; Al. Howie 8, 0-1; Olivas 4, 0-0; Salamanca 0, 0-0; Av. Howie 23, 8-10; Jackson 5, 1-2; T. Abernathy 1, 1-2; Burrows 0, 0-0; Anderson 9, 7-10; Hoskinson 0, 0-0
Ashland - Gibson 0, 0-0; Harris 14, 2-2; Asebedo 1, 1-2; Thornburg 0, 0-0; Vera 0, 0-0; Grigsby 8, 2-8; Brown 3, 1-5; Koch 0, 0-0; Solida 8, 2-4; Cramer 0, 0-0; Endicott 15, 3-6; Berryman 0, 0-0
Satanta: 9, 22, 20, 10 -- 61
Ashland: 12, 14, 7, 18 -- 51