At a breakneck pace, Ardmore and Carl Albert went up and down the floor. And for a quarter, the Tigers kept pace with the fourth-ranked Titans.
But the second period was unkind to No. 18 Ardmore, as Carl Albert went on a 17-0 run to open up the game. The Titans went on to win 78-58, winning the battle of the boards in a game where the Tigers couldn't afford to miss from inside.
Why? Because the Titans' frontcourt was that good. Cameron Warren put up his second monster rebounding performance of the year against Ardmore, logging 20 boards to go with 16 points. Center Hayden Howell added eight rebounds, and the Titans (15-5) beat Ardmore on the glass 43-21.
Anthony Willis paced Ardmore with 16 points and Dre Johnson added 13 for the Tigers (8-12). Jared Price led Carl Albert with 25 points, acting as the scoring spark of the Titans' game-changing stretch in the second.
Ardmore went on a 5-2 run to start the second quarter, cutting Carl Albert's lead to 20-16. But Price scored six of the Titans' next 10, and the lead ballooned to 40-20 at halftime.
The Tigers again pushed the Titans to start the third quarter, but couldn't make enough of a dent in the massive deficit.
Carl Albert had its way on the boards, with Warren duplicating his Ardmore Holiday Festival performance, scoring on second and sometimes third chances. Johnson, Jeff Surrell and Jarred Hall each had four rebounds for Ardmore.
Carl Albert beat Ardmore 64-56 in the Holiday Festival in December and also beat the Tigers 89-64 in November.
Javeion Gray had 14 points for Carl Albert. Seneca Maytubby and Hall each added six points for Ardmore, while shot 13-of-18 from the free-throw line.
Ardmore girls stand tall in loss
If not for a dry spell in the third quarter, Ardmore may have had its upset on Tuesday.
The Tigers went toe-to-toe with No. 3 Carl Albert, leading at halftime and forcing Titans star Gioya Carter to the bench with foul trouble. But once Carl Albert found its touch from outside, the Titans were able to come away with a 56-46 win at Ardmore High School.
Jordan Gilbert led Carl Albert with 15 points, Brianna Duchane added 11 and Carter, a University of Oklahoma commit, had nine points and a team-high 11 rebounds for the Titans.
Ardmore senior Patrice Bennett scored a game-high 18 points, including 9-of-10 from the line, and Trelynn Cohee scored nine off the bench for the Tigers (10-10).
Ardmore's in-your-face defense and ability to get to the line had Carl Albert out of sorts early. The Tigers kept Carter from getting to the basket, and closed the second quarter on a 8-2 run to take a 30-29 lead into halftime.
Carter wasn't dominant in the scorebook, but dictated play in other ways. The left-hander was in foul trouble for the majority of the second quarter, but ignited the Titans with a 9-2 run to start the third period.
Out of the break, Carl Albert turned up its defense, forcing 10 Ardmore turnovers in the third quarter alone. The Titans finally found their shooting touch in a key stretch to put the game out of reach.
With only a 35-33 lead midway through the third, Carl Albert closed the quarter with three 3s, capped by long balls on consecutive possessions from Gilbert and Duchane.
The Titans led 45-37 heading into the fourth, and pushed the lead to double digits with an 8-2 advantage to start the final period.
Ardmore, which entered the game ranked 15th in Class 5A, couldn't respond, with just four field goals in the second half.
Tee Taylor had seven points and four rebounds, Kyla Stapleton and Destinee Howell each scored six points for Ardmore. Stapleton paced the Tigers with seven rebounds.