LAWTON — Faster starts to a game have been a big point of emphasis for Class 5A’s No. 3 Ardmore Lady Tigers.
Ardmore wants to force turnovers with its full-court press defense so that it can set the tone for the remainder of a game.
Friday proved to be another step in the right direction.
J’Sades Ainsworth had another monster game with 30 points and eight rebounds, and the Lady Tigers started the contest on a 20-4 run before fending off a late run by Lawton MacArthur to earn a 63-56 victory.
“I just think we all want to start the game aggressive and I’ve told them that we’ve got to be able to finish,” Ardmore coach Debra Manley said. “The kids have been really able to get after it.
“Katyra (Albert) and Christa (Pickens) had the flu. We were trying to finish this game and get to have off next week. Hopefully everybody will be strong before we hit Ada on (Feb. 7).”
Pickens put up eight points, five rebounds and six steals.
“She had a lot of deflections and steals,” Manley said. “I was really proud of her for battling through it (illness) because I know that she didn’t feel well.
“The other kids stepped up. Latavia (Jackson) stepped up. Amaya (Gordon) played well (seven rebounds, six points). Tata did some good things. They didn’t score a lot of points but played well.”
In the early going, Ardmore (12-3) forced turnovers off its press and convert several of those steals into points.
The Lady Tigers led 20-4 in the first quarter.
Ainsworth was a force around the basket.
“She’s just got that quick first step and got to the free-throw line a lot,” Manley said. “Tieronay (Banks) took a charge. We got after them. I was proud of them.”
Ardmore clung to a 15-point lead for most of the game.
The Lady Tigers survived a late MacArthur push and some turnovers to earn its 12th victory in 15 tries. Six 3-pointers also aided the Lady Highlander comeback.
Ardmore is now off until Feb. 7.
Ardmore 20 9 20 14 — 63
Lawton MacArthur 4 10 19 23 — 56
Ardmore: J’Sades Ainsworth 30, Tieronay Banks 8, Christa Pickens 8, Amaya Gordon 6, Sierra Gordon 6, Tatayana Lee 3, Latavia Jackson 2.
Ardmore: 16-25; Lawton Mac: 9-14
Ardmore: 1 (Lee); Lawton Mac: 7