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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Seaba, free throws keep Oologah's postseason alive in win over Harrah

Feb. 23—TULSA — Oologah girls basketball has experienced an unusual postseason, especially in terms of performance at the free-throw line.

The Lady Mustangs have diverged from the regular-season norm, going from averaging about six free throws a game to 30.5 through two playoff games with 61 total shots. As peculiar as those numbers are, that lifestyle kept their season alive Thursday afternoon.

Oologah shot 34 free throws in its elimination game against Harrah, making 23 of them to scrape past the Lady Panthers with a 40-37 victory in Class 4A Area I Regional Consolation D at Lincoln Christian Gymnasium in Tulsa. The Lady Mustangs (13-12) play Weatherford in another elimination game at 1 p.m. Friday at Cushing.

"That's the most we've shot all year," Oologah coach Matt Sweeney said. "We've shot more free throws in the playoffs than I think we've shot in the entire season. It's been really weird this year in the playoffs compared to the regular season."

Kailee Seaba, a sophomore guard, was the Lady Mustangs' primary weapon from the line, using her 5-foot-10 frame to force herself into the paint while drawing contact. She was efficient once she got there, making 11 of 14 free throws.

Seaba was 5-of-6 from the line in the fourth quarter, including two with 10 seconds remaining just moments after Harrah trimmed its deficit to 38-35 at the 0:11 mark. She finished with a double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds — including 10 in the second half — alongside several steals.

"Our whole game revolves around 34 (Seaba) and getting the ball to her," Sweeney said. "A lot of teams can't stop her in the paint, so I want her shooting in the paint and getting to the free-throw line."

Seaba scored 7 points in the first quarter as Oologah clung to a 9-8 lead after falling behind 8-2, but the Lady Panthers quickly gained the advantage in the second thanks to a 9-2 run in which they hit three 3-pointers before carrying a 23-18 edge into halftime.

Defending the perimeter was an issue for the Lady Mustangs in the first half, with Harrah hitting five 3-balls — including two from Allison Price. However, the Lady Mustangs locked down the shooters in the second half after working out some communication kinks regarding defensive strategy, and when that aspect of the Lady Panthers' game left, so too did their offensive fortitude.

Harrah (13-12) managed only one 3 in the second half on a shot from Ashely Hamm, and though it came at a critical juncture in the fourth period — trimming its deficit to 35-32 — it was overshadowed by the team's offensive ineptitude down the stretch.

Brenna Catrambone split a pair of free throws to open the third and increase the advantage to 24-18, but Oologah outscored the Lady Panthers 12-2 the remainder of the quarter. Seaba put the Lady Mustangs ahead 25-24 with 2:34 remaining in the penultimate period, and they never trailed again.

In all, Oologah outscored Harrah 22-14 in the second half.

"In the first half, I don't think we did a very good job of talking," said Sweeney, whose team forced 28 turnovers while giving up 21 itself. "They were just running the baseline and swinging the ball around until they get open and shoot. We got lost in them switching the ball from one side to the other. Everybody knows that if you reverse the ball one time, you get a good shot. If you reverse it twice, you get an even better shot, and three times, you get a great shot. They were just being really patient and working that ball back and forth on us.

"We came out in the second half, and I said let's just divide the court in half. Keep it on one side; don't let them reverse the ball."

Macey Calico joined Seaba in double figures with 11 points and 3 rebounds, and Kalley Hogue had a notable outing as well with 7 points and 4 boards.

Sayler Eaton, who paced the Lady Panthers with 13 points and 3 rebounds, was limited to 4 points in the second half — including a desperation layup with 0:02 remaining. Hamm led the team on the glass with 7 boards to go alongside 4 points, while Price had 8 points and 2 rebounds.