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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Lengthy droughts, turnovers doom Claremore in 26-point loss to BK

Feb. 7—Immediately after retrieving a pass from Jazmine Cookson near the baseline, Annabelle Vanaman's eyes quickly glanced at the basket on the other end of the court.

Bishop Kelley wasn't going to stop her surge, and she knew it. The senior guard glided down the hardwood with grace before slicing to her right and penetrating the arc, launching a midrange floater from the lane over three defenders for a seemingly easy two points.

The shot increased the Lady Zebras' lead to 7-4 with 4:25 remaining in the first quarter, but as effortless as Vanaman made that offensive sequence look, nothing came easy for the remainder of the game. Claremore was outscored by the Lady Comets 40-4 over the next 25:39, leading to a 46-20 home loss in District 5A-3 action Tuesday night.

Turnovers played a major role in the Lady Zebras' collapse, for they committed 11 giveaways in the first period alone and followed with 10 apiece in the second and third quarters before finishing with a total of 36. Bishop Kelley surrendered half as many with 18.

The Lady Comets closed the first period with a 6-0 run after Vanaman's shot but struggled to find separation early in the second. In fact, neither team scored until a fast-break layup from Toney Gibson pulled Claremore within one at 10-9 with 5:42 remaining in the first half.

However, a quick response from Bishop Kelley's Caroline Rabb sparked a run of monstrous proportions.

The Lady Comets scored the next 22 points to stretch their lead to 32-9, holding the Lady Zebras scoreless for a stretch of 8:53 in the process. Anne Blankenship scored six of her 14 points during the run.

Even when Taylor Garrison finally ended the spurt at the 4:49 mark of the third quarter, it served as only a momentary reprieve for the team's struggles. Bishop Kelley answered with a 12-0 run, pushing its advantage to 44-11 well into the final period behind another six points from Blankenship.

Claremore went another 8:15 between scores, with Kloie Schellhorn ending the drought with a 3-pointer with 4:34 remaining. That gave the offense a much-needed confidence boost, for the Lady Zebras went on to close the contest with a 9-2 run, but it came much too late to make a difference in the result.

Vanaman led the team with seven points and one board while Gibson and Cookson added two points apiece with seven and six rebounds, respectively. As lopsided as the score was, Claremore kept the battle of the glass close, with the Lady Comets winning by one board at 29-28.

Incredibly, the Lady Zebras went the entire game without attempting a free throw. Bishop Kelley went 4-of-8 from the line in comparison.

In addition to leading Bishop Kelley in scoring, Blankenship also pulled down a team-high six rebounds. Allie Strandmark had a notable performance as well with eight points and one board.

Claremore fell to 2-18 overall and 0-11 in district play, while the Lady Comets improved to 12-8 and 7-4.