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Lady Tigers fall at State to eventual champion Bethany

Tuttle senior Ava Battles (12) passes to Tuttle senior Samantha Teague (24) during a state tournament game Thursday, March 7 at the OKC Fairgrounds.

 

Tuttle’s Lady Tigers finished their season in the state tournament Thursday, March 7, falling to eventual state champion Bethany.

Bethany outscored their opponents by 51 points through the three games of the state tournament.

Tuttle Head Basketball Coach Jamie Combs lauded her team’s fight in the final game of their season.

She said Monday of Bethany, “I think they proved that they were the best team in 4A, just with their margins of victory throughout the weekend. I’m just really proud of our girls. They fought and battled and never gave up when things didn’t quite go our way. We could have folded and we didn’t. We battled back and came back and got defensive stops or came back and scored a bucket here and there, and just tried to keep it as close as we could. I got a lot of comments and compliments from various people, just about how well the girls battled and how much fun they were to watch, so I was really proud of them for that.”

The Lady Tigers had a season record of 21-8, were ranked eighth in 4A, and outscored their opponents 1,515 points to 1,063 for the season.

Coach Combs said, “A season that ends at the big house is a good season. We always have to reflect on the journey, and not necessarily the single game. The ability for our kids to get there, and achieve that, was huge this year. I mean, we played almost half our season without Ava, our starting point guard, and one of our best defenders. That was a huge hill we had to climb to achieve what we needed to, and it gave some other girls an opportunity to step up and play and get experience that they needed, and become contributors. I’m just really, really proud of how far we came from start to finish.”

The Lady Tigers will graduate four seniors: Allie Rehl, Samantha Teague, Ava Battles, and Mya Sisson.

Coach Combs said of her seniors, “I’ve talked to them and texted with them a lot these last couple of days, but I just would say that they left a really great legacy. As a class, they won 97 games, which is just incredibly impressive. They were part of state championship team, state runner up team, state semifinalist team, and state qualifying team. They got to go to the big house all four years. And from a basketball perspective, that’s amazing. I’m just really proud of the people that they’ve grown into. I really want to praise them for their individual growth as leaders. I thought they make great examples for younger kids, whether that was through their work ethic and putting extra time in the gym, or their demeanor on the court, or how they treated their teammates, we had a really balanced class with those four, and all of them contributed in different ways. That’s what made us a really good team.”

Tuttle Girls Basketball will return two starters next season: junior Kinzley Battles and sophomore Marissa Sandlin. Coach Combs said she believes next year’s squad will maintain the identity the Lady Tigers have become known for over the last several years.

“They’re tough,” Combs said of Battles and Sandlin. “They’ll go to battle and they just play their hearts out, and leave it all out on the floor. I think that’s the thing about our team. That’s our identity, and I’ve had multiple comments from other coaches, from media, from fans, and people in the community that just love to watch our team play, because we just play so hard, and they know that every kid that steps on the floor is going to give everything they have. So yes, we lose this really good group of seniors. We’ve also got players coming up ready to roll that are going to keep that culture alive. We’re going to keep that as our identity, and we’re just going to outwork you every day, and they come to practice ready with that mentality, and they do that every single day.”

Tuttle junior Kinzley Battles looks to pass during a state tournament game Thursday, March 7 at the OKC Fairgrounds.

Tuttle sophomore Marissa Sandlin (40) plays defense against Bethany during a state tournament game Thursday, March 7. Also pictured are junior Kinzley Battles (10) and senior Mya Sisson (11).

Tuttle Head Basketball Coach Jamie Combs yells instructions to her team during a state tournament game Thursday, March 7 at the OKC Fairgrounds.

Tuttle senior Samantha Teague (24) defends an inbound pass during a state tournament game Thursday, March 7 at the OKC Fairgrounds.

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