KINGSTON — MiKaylyn Gerken’s play will appear on a stat sheet as a standard rebound.
It was much more.
Latta’s three-point shot caromed toward the left corner, where two Lady Panthers’ defenders prepared to trap the Plainview senior.
Instead, Gerken threw the ball off a defender’s leg. Latta fell back into its half court defense. Fifty-three seconds later, Abby Bilsbury’s layup gave either team the first double-digit lead of the contest.
Plainview beat Latta 31-22 to win the Kingston New Years Classic Championship Saturday night.
Plainview (12-1) coach Andy Bloodworth discussed that play with Gerken in the locker room after the game, he said.
“We were talking about various big plays in the game,” Bloodworth said. “I told her that was one of the biggest ones right there.”
It helped the Class 4A No. 5 Lady Indians win their second tournament championship.
“I feel really good because over the last two games, we’ve really gotten together and have been talking a lot more,” Bilsbury said. “I think it’s been helping us a lot. We’re all very in sync.”
Wright blocked four shots. Scarlett Runnels swatted a pair in a grind-it-out battle.
“They’re one of the most physical teams we’ve played so far,” Bilsbury said. “The physicality has really pushed us to be smart and not move to their style of game by fouling a lot. We really settled down and figured out how to work around that.
“It was a really good win,” Bilsbury said. “It was a really fun game, and I’m just glad we pulled it off.”
Wright won tournament Most Valuable Player honors. Ally Parham and Megan Shelton earned spots on the All-Tournament team.
Bloodworth knew before the game that Latta would attempt to slow the pace.
Bilsbury scored six of her team-high 10 points in transition.
“The coaches emphasized it a lot before the game, wanting to play fast and getting the ball down the court because that’s kind of our game,” Bilsbury said.
Latta blocked a significant number of Plainview shots, too.
Nonetheless, the Lady Indians won without making a 3-pointer.
“This game was good for us in a lot of ways,” Bloodworth said. “That (type of physical game with few fouls called) is exactly what we needed. The way we adjusted, the refs aren’t calling anything, then we can play a little bit more physically ourselves.
“I thought the girls did a great job as far as adjusting to the officiating and closing out ball games.”
Plainview: 31 (Abby Bilsbury 10, Megan Shelton 8, Rebecca Wright 7, Ally Parham 4, MiKaylyn Gerken 2).
Plainview 63, Tishomingo 26
Bloodworth was not satisfied with his team’s win against Atoka Thursday.
That dissatisfaction played a role in Friday’s semifinal, Plainview’s second game against Tishomingo in three days.
“We came out (Friday night) and really challenged the girls,” Bloodworth said. “(Tuesday) wasn’t quite our best game. We had a little motivation going on in the locker room.
“Give credit to the girls: They came out and played lights out.”
Plainview: 63 (Rebecca Wright 18, Ally Parham 10, Abby Bilsbury 10, Scarlett Runnels 9, MiKaylyn Gerken 7, Megan Shelton 7, Mae-Kayla McCann 2).
Tishomingo: 26 (Rylee Barnes 6, Taylor Wilkinson 6, Rylee Hughes 4, Kendra Hallmark 2, Kristen Lovett 2, Cheyanne Arkansas 2, Kierra Mann 2, Makayla Hughes 2).
Plainview: 4 (Parham 2, Gerken, Runnels)