OKLAHOMA CITY — Ardmore almost had one more miracle left, but it was not to be.
Trailing by 25 at halftime, the 15th-ranked Tigers (11-14) rallied to within nine points in the fourth quarter but came up short against No. 11 Del City, dropping a 81-71 decision on Thursday in Class 5A area play.
“Proud isn’t enough of a word to describe how I feel,” Ardmore coach Kevin Kelly said. “It’s more like proud times one million.
“I told them in the locker room at halftime that they could give up or fight back, and they fought back.”
Senior Patrice Bennett had a remarkable final game to cap her high school career, scoring 37 points, including 25 in the second half, as the Tigers nearly pulled off an incredible rally.
“You can’t ask for more out of a senior,” Kelly said. “I wish I could have had her for four years.”
Kelly’s first season saw a dramatic turnaround for the Tigers program, with Ardmore improving its season record by 10 wins and setting the stage for future success.
Ardmore will return three starters from this season and much of its bench, and Kelly feels that the team’s improvement this season will be a spark for the future.
“I think this gives a lot of positive momentum for the program, and really shows that we’re on the upswing,” Kelly said. “We’ll take a little while off, let the girls do track, but they’re ready to work for next year.”
Tee Taylor added 19 points for Ardmore, while Kyla Stapleton chipped in seven.