By Mike Tupa
No doubt that Tulsa Union High School’s impressive-looking 6-foot-0 center De’Asia Thomas doesn’t have to step aside in the low post too often for anyone.
On Friday night, Bartlesville High School center titan Lauren Richter proved to be the exception.
Richter’s towering arms and hands — which must have looked to Tulsa Union players like the top of Mt. Rushmore — shut down Thomas’ inside scoring like a new federal law for shooting prohibition.
Thomas managed only five points — one field goal and three free throws — as Bartlesville (11-7) bolted to its third-straight win, 50-43.
While Richter & Co. set the defensive tone, the Tulsa Union Lady Redskins had no defense to limit Lady Bruin pumping-hot points volcano Erin Shoemaker.
The 5-foot-9 junior scored Bartlesville’s first 16 points — highlighted by five three-pointers — to bury the Lady Redskins like a flood of lava.
Shoemaker sunk a trey off the opening tip.
Shoemaker canned a Ma Bell special on a weakside shot, off a feed by crafty passer Jena’ Williams.
Shoemaker stretched the lead to 10-2 by canning a three-pointer, off an assist from Avery Allen.
Shoemaker’s fourth long-range missile made it a 13-5 game.
Her fifth triple — hit with more than two minutes left in the opening period — pushed the Lady Bruins to a 16-9 leave.
To their credit, the Lady Redskins kept pecking away. But, they couldn’t compensate for Shoemaker’s combustible ways.
During the final 90 seconds of the first period, Williams nailed a runner off the glass and hit another inside shot to fashion a 20-15 lead for Bartlesville.
Williams’ third-straight hoop made it a two-possession game again, 22-17, early in the second quarter.
With time running down in the half, Shoemaker sank her sixth — and final — arc-buster and Williams also hammered a trey to widen Bartlesville’s lead to 28-20 heading into the needed intermission.
The second half featured much of the same — with one slight change in script.
Richter and Allen both knocked down a three-pointer apiece to keep Tulsa Union at arm’s length.
Richter’s three-pointer — launched from the behind the top of the circle — increased the gap to double-digits, 33-22, with about 5:30 left in the third quarter.
A few minutes later, Allen dialed in a trey to make it a 14-point game, 36-22.
From that moment on, Union had to pull out its shovel and try to dig a sloping path out of the pit.
The Lady Redskins (10-9) finished up the third period on an 11-5 run — highlighted by a coast-to-coast layup by Alyssa Collins and a three-point bomb by Darian Carr — to trim Bartlesville’s lead to eight points, 41-33.
Two layups by reserve center Destiny Harris — one off a hook shot of a cross-baseline drive — helped Bartlesville from giving up any more of its lead.
The Lady Bruins opened the fourth period scoring with two free throws by Williams — who absorbed charge — to re-establish a double-digit bulge, 43-33.
Union never pulled closer than six points the rest of the way.
Two free throws by Williams — with 43 ticks left — helped seal the win.
Fittingly, Shoemaker tallied the Lady Bruins’ final point — on a free throw with 13.2 seconds left — to round out her scoring total to 20 points.
Williams added 13 points, while Richter scored nine.
Taylor Malham scored 16 points to lead Tulsa Union.
Krista Binam coaches the Lady Bruins, who have lost only twice in Frontier Valley Conference competition.
Next up, Bartlesville travels Tuesday to Owasso.
Bartlesville 50, T. Union 43
Tulsa Union 15-5-13-10—43
Sadie Moyer 3 0-0 7, Jayla Burgess 1 0-2 2, Taylor Malham 5 6-8 16, Alyssa Collins 3 0-0 7, Alayzha Knapp 1 0-0 2, Darian Carr 1 1-4 4, De’Asia Thomas 1 3-4 5. Totals: 15 10-18 43.
Erin Shoemaker 6 2-4 20, Avery Allen 1 1-3 4, Jena’ Williams 4 4-5 13, Lauren Richter 4 0-0 9, Destiny Harris 2 0-0 4. Totals: 17 7-12