Girls Class A All Tournament Team
(co-MVP) Katie BenAmor, Howe.............................. 5-11 Jr. 18.7
(co-MVP) Lindsay McCown, Howe............................. 6-0 Jr. 14.3
Taylor Cawhorn, Howe.................................... 5-4 Jr. 7.0
Autumn Klugh, Fort Cobb............................ 5-6 Sr. 20.3
Samantha Carter, Howe................................ 5-9 Jr. 15.0
Au.Klugh, Fort Cobb-Broxton 61; BenAmor, Howe 56; Carter, Howe 45; McCown, Howe 43; Fuxa, Garber 40; Schanithman, Garber 34; Hamilton, Preston 32; Ad.Klugh, Fort Cobb-Broxton 30; Cornwell, Preston 29; Tilley, Fort Cobb-Broxton 28; S.Love, Preston 27; Cawhorn, Howe 21.
Tulsa World, 3/3/08
When Howe's Lindsay McCown hit a 50-foot shot that ended the first quarter during the Class A girls championship game, many were surprised by the basket.
Not McCown or her Lion teammates. Everyone had secretly practiced half-court shots recently.
"We had one day of practice before the playoffs began and coach was not there," McCown said while yelling at teammates to tell her what the impromptu game was called. "It was called 'Gotcha.' We all stood at the half-court line and shot."
It's not clear what exactly was accomplished by the practice, but when McCown hit a shot 5 feet behind the halfcourt line against Fort Cobb-Broxton, she got nothing but net. Howe went on to win the state crown, 53-41.
Praise, praise, praise: Howe coach Chris Brown was gracious in his compliments to the team he just beat, Fort Cobb-Broxton, in the Class A final.
"Autumn Klugh is unbelievable," said Brown of the Fort Cobb-Broxton senior, who found ways to score while being covered heavily. "I think coach (James) Biddy should be coach of the year for what he did against Preston (in the semifinals).
We took advantage of Fort Cobb's tired legs."
Brown was in attendance Friday night as Fort Cobb-Broxton outran and outshot No. 1 Preston to reach the state final.
Tulsa World, 3/2/08
Saturday night No. 2 Howe's crew screamed with joy after knocking off No. 3 Fort Cobb-Broxton 53-41 to win the Class A state championship before 5,000 in State Fair Arena.
The Lions' stunned silence, when in 2007 they were shocked on a last second basket by Cashion, was only a distant memory.
This title match was tougher than the final score indicated. Fort Cobb-Broxton trailed most of the game, but pulled within three (30-27)with 1:02 left in the third quarter. Howe scored only two points in that period.
Howe (28-2) regrouped in the final quarter behind Taylor Cawhorn's eight free throws and a key 3-pointer by Katie BenAmor that bounced all over the rim.
The Mustangs (30-2) end their season as the school's first state runner-up. Howe wins the gold trophy for the fourth time to go with titles in 2004, 1959 and '39.
"It's my biggest accomplishment," junior Lindsay McCown said. "Never did I think it would feel this great."
McCown had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Teammate Samantha Carter had 11 points and 12 rebounds. BenAmor scored a team-high 15 points and Cawhorn had 10 points.
Was the weight of last year's loss lifted?
"Yes, like no other. You have no idea (how relieved we feel)," McCown said.
Overshadowed by the loss was the outstanding play of Fort Cobb-Broxton senior Autumn Klugh.
She was the sharpshooter that helped upset No. 1 Preston Friday night.
Against Howe, Klugh managed a game-high 22 points against a blanket defense that focused on her. She finished the tournament with 61 points.
Tulsa World, 2/28/08
No. 1 Preston and No. 2 Howe have been the cream of the Class A girls basketball crop all season.
The two schools also come into Thursday's state tournament at Carl Albert High School in Midwest City as state runners-up from last season.
No. 1 Preston was the 2A runner-up, but dropped down into A this season. No. 2 Howe lost on a last-second shot and took home the A silver trophy, instead of gold.
Before you think Preston and Howe are destined to meet in the final . . . think again.
Class A has an abundance of talent. Beaver (24-1), Garber (27-1) and Fort Cobb-Broxton (28-1) have only one loss each. Okarche (20-6), Amber-Pocasset (24-4) and Crowder (24-5) have prolific scorers on their teams.
Preston (27-1) may have the deepest team. When the Pirates' subs come in, the play does not dip.
Junior Maylisa Johnson knows all about the depth of Preston.
"It's a big relief to know they are ready to play," said Johnson.
With so many good players, Preston's practices are quite competitive.
"Practice is like the military," she added. "We all work hard. I will miss playing with all the seniors. It has been really fun."
Preston loses two seniors: University of Tulsa-bound Savannah Hamilton (13.8 points a game) and Lauren Abbott (11 ppg).
"We have all stepped up on defense and scoring. We are better on defense," Johnson said.
Preston scores 80.1 points and gets many of those in transition. The Pirates surrender just 41.4 points a game.
Howe (25-2) has been on a mission since losing on that last-second shot by Cashion's Bailey Welch. Cashion did not make state this year and will not defend its title.
"I told them to take a rest for a week and we'd get started. I told them that on Saturday night (after we lost in the final)," coach Chris Brown said. "On Monday when I got to school, they had their shoes on and already running. They wanted to get started again."
The Lions have five juniors that all played on the 2007 state runner-up team.
Juniors Taylor Cawhorn, Ashley Scroggins, Katie BenAmor, Lindsay McCown and Samantha Carter form the foundation of this year's club.
"Every season is filled with peaks and valleys," Brown said. "We are playing our best basketball at the end of the season."
Howe drew Beaver in the first round.
McCown is one of the five junior starters back. She feels this season is different from the last.
"Last year, it was fun for us," said McCown, who averages 14 points a game. "Now, it is more business. We have to go back and play hard."
McCown and teammate BenAmor, who averages a team-leading 17.1 points, were encouraged by coach Brown to play together more. The two came up with a novel way to remember that.
"We write each other's numbers on the other's shoes," McCown added. "Katie and I knew we had to play together. We look down (on the numbers) and know to play well with each other now."
So far, that kind of teamwork at Howe and a deep team bench at Preston give the Class A bracket a quality look.