Ardmore simply isn’t the same team that lost 66-26 at Durant in December, but Durant’s Regan Browne hasn’t changed much.

Ardmore simply isn’t the same team that lost 66-26 at Durant in December, but Durant’s Regan Browne hasn’t changed much.

The standout guard nailed four first-quarter 3-pointers en route to a 22-point game in leading the Lions to a 46-43 win Friday in the Tigers’ regular-season finale. Ardmore will play Altus next Thursday at 6:30 to open the Class 5A West Region 2 tournament in Ada.

“I think we learned to play together more and rely on each other,” said Ardmore senior Shelby Dodd, who had 16 points Friday. “I think we needed to redeem ourselves.”

Ardmore coach Matthew Madole credited the Tigers’ improvement in each game since that rough outing with the tighter point spread.

“This season, we’ve gotten better step by step — progressively,” Madole said. “Not individually, but collectively. And that was the difference in our improvement through the year.”

Then again, Durant coach Barry Hudson called the large margin “a fluke.”

“We expected a tough game (Friday),” Hudson said. “I didn’t expect we’d be down five deep in the fourth quarter, but that made us bring our best game down the stretch.”

Ardmore (5-17) went on a 15-2 run going into the fourth quarter and held Durant (15-6) without a field goal for more than 6 minutes in the process. Shara McBroom scored all six of her points during the rally, and Marquitta Oliver capped the run with a go-ahead 3 and hook shot early in the fourth to make it 39-34. It was the only time the Tigers led.

Then Browne caught fire again, scoring Durant’s next seven points to knot it at 41. With 1:34 left, TaGayla Lee knocked down a jumper in the lane for the game’s last tie at 43.

Sierra Moore hit 1-of-2 foul shots with 29.8 seconds left to put Durant ahead after a reach-in foul. Browne picked off an errant pass before Madole tried to call timeout, and Hailey Elrod sank two more free throws with 10.7 remaining to make it 46-43.

Oliver, who ended up with nine points, had a shot at overtime, but her off-balance 3-point attempt with 3 seconds left missed the iron. Durant ran out the clock on the rebound.

Dodd was Ardmore’s early threat with 11 in the first half. Ardmore trailed 22-16 at halftime.

“Shelby is long and rangy and a good athlete, jumps well,” Hudson said. “She can rebound crazy, so we know we got to get her off the boards.”

Dodd also had the tough task of containing Oklahoma Christian signee Katy O’Steen. The Durant center was held to 10 points, but scored six of Durant’s seven second-quarter points. She and Browne combined for 19 first-half points.

“O’Steen can come out and get 25 any game if she wants to, but Shelby Dodd played her heart out,” Madole said.

Tigers vs. Cancer

Ardmore took the floor for pregame warm-ups wearing pink T-shirts in honor of those who have fought cancer. The cheer and pom squads for Ardmore collected donations for the American Cancer Society during the game.

A moment of silence was held between the girls and boys games for Tony Carr, husband of Ardmore Superintendent Dr. Ruth Ann Carr, Ardmore Holiday Festival volunteer and Ardmore High golf supporter Max Williamson, and Cornelia Kemp, mother of AHS players Rico and Renisha Murph. All three lost their battles with cancer within the past month, according to a public address announcement.

I.C. Murrell,