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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Sulphur stays No. 1, unbeaten after Ada tournament victory

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  • Sulphur girls basketball coach Toby Todd knows what he has in his Bulldogs. His players know.
    Now, it's time for the rest of Oklahoma to get the memo.
    The Bulldogs (9-0) now enter 2013 in the same position it ended 2012; unbeaten and the top-ranked squad in Class 3A, thanks to a championship in the Mid America Classic in Ada over the weekend.
    Sulphur toppled Hammond, the No. 1 school in Class B, before taking down 6A power Tulsa Union and Georgetown (Texas) in the final.
    "We played great, really well," Todd said. "We knew coming in that this was going to be an extremely tough tournament."
    If so, the Bulldogs certainly didn't show it early. Sulphur rolled through Hammond in a 48-21 rout, holding the Class B powerhouse scoreless in the second quarter thanks to a stifling defensive effort.
    "We won because of that defensive performance," Todd said. "But we also did a lot of the little things well."
    Sulphur's attention to small details paid off when matched up against Union. Even when faced with a distinct size disadvantage, the Bulldogs still found a way to earn a 48-43 semifinal victory.
    Todd gave much of the credit to his team's performance at the free-throw line. Sulphur knocked down 17-of-20 attempts, including an outstanding 12-of-14 in the fourth quarter.
    "Free throws saved us in that game," Todd said. "We needed to make them late and we did."
    History repeated itself against Georgetown, as Sulphur once again played strong defense and took advantage at the charity stripe in a 40-35 championship win.
    The biggest contributor was senior point guard and all-tournament selection Ashley Hughes, who was a perfect 13-of-13 over the final two contests and averaged 17.6 points per contest.
    Senior sharpshooter Tierani Richardson was also named to the all-tournament team, averaging 8.3 points per contest.
    And while Ebony Harrison did not make the all-tournament squad, Todd praised her outstanding defensive performances, which played a part in securing the championship win.
    "She knew going into those last two games that we needed her to perform on defense and with rebounds," Todd said. "And she did that."
    And now, with the season headed into crucial conference play, Todd and the Bulldogs have all the confidence needed to continue a strong run in 2013.
    "They're a very mature group, and they know what they want," Todd said. "It's not so much the pressure anybody else has put on us; when the lights come on, everybody wants to beat you.
    "Hopefully, (winning this tournament) will be something that carries over."
    Spencer White
    221-6527

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