2008 Class A State Champion Lady Lions

Schedule and Record


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Game Podcasts

Mic'd up with Coach Brown
during the championship game

Coach Brown on KOCO Video

Lindsay's Half-Court Shot Video


Seniors Kiss The Gold Ball

Lindsay, Taylor & The Gold Ball            

Hugs All Around

Samantha Looks To Pass

Hannah Stops Klaugh

Katie Gets a Rebound

A Pass For TWO

The Tournament Bracket

Chemistry Class Predictions

Area Championship Team

Regional Championship Team

District Championship Team

County Championship Team

Newspaper Clippings Archive

Note: There are no official All-Tournament teams or MVPs for the State Tournament.
The OSSAA does not give out such awards.

But CoachesAid.com says: Class A Girls MVP - Katie BenAmor (Howe)

"It was definitely a three-pronged attack all weekend for the Lady Lions as teammates Lindsay McCown and Samantha Carter each notched sensational performances. BenAmor gets the slight MVP nod after leading the balanced Howe attack in scoring all three days. Bad news for opponents is that Saturday's entire starting five should return next year too."

Class A Girls All-Tourney Team
Samantha Carter (Howe)
Lindsay McCown (Howe)
Alyssa Fuxa (Garber)
Adalynn Klugh (FC-Broxton)
Autumn Klugh (FC-Broxton)

CoachesAid.com   Article Posted March 2, 2008

Class A Girls Championship
Howe, Cawhorn find redemption one year later

By Michael Swisher | March 1, 2008 | Photos by Blunck's

STATE FAIR ARENA − Bailey Welch.

The name alone brings up memories that Howe would just as soon forget, but never will. Welch, as you may recall, made a remarkable, buzzer-beating drive and shot in 2007 that gave Cashion one of the most memorable state championship wins in tournament history.

And Howe was on the other end, shocked, trying to pick up the pieces quickly enough to receive the silver ball. Among the most devastated was Taylor Cawhorn, who 14 seconds prior to the shot, missed the front end of a one-and-one.

Taylor Cawhorn went 8-for-8 from the free throw line in the final minutes of Saturday's win over Fort Cobb.

"I think about it all the time," Cawhorn said. "We lost by one. If I had made that free throw, who knows what would have happened."

One thing didn't happen in Howe after the heartbreak − a pity party.

Less than 48 hours after a state championship slipped through their fingers, the Lady Lions were back in the gym, unwilling to take time off to let the wounds heal.

"We weren't ready to take a break because we knew we had what it takes to come back again this year," Cawhorn said. They were right. On Saturday night, exactly one year since the Howe heartbreak, the Lady Lions methodically dispatched of Ft. Cobb-Broxton 53-41 to claim the Class A girls championship.

And wouldn't you know it: Ft. Cobb sent Cawhorn to the foul line in the closing minutes, forcing her to make free throws to seal the win. Eight times in the final 1:44, Cawhorn stepped up to the line. Eight times, she hit nothing but net.

"I said, 'I've got to do this for my team and I know if I make these, we can win it,'" Cawhorn said. "I didn't want what happened last year to happen again this year."

Coach Chris Brown wanted nobody else taking those shots.

"There was nothing better than having Taylor Cawhorn at the line," he said. "Last year she missed that front end and it's hurt her all year. She's worked hard and stayed late all year. Just to have her get up there and knock down those big free throws was awesome."

Brown fully expected to give the Lady Lions a few days off to recover from the loss to Cashion a year ago. On the Monday following, however, he walked into the gym to already find his team practicing. He was shocked.

Lindsay McCown fights for a rebound against Fort Cobb sophomore Adalynn Klugh.

"It was unbelievable. They were focused by Monday," he said. "I tried to tell them to take a few days off. Heck, I wanted three days off after that − I wanted two weeks off."

But the team refused. Their dream had been shattered two days before, but they knew another could be realized a year later. "I'm blessed to have such self-motivated kids," Brown added.

Cawhorns's foul shots sealed the win, but for Howe, the game was won in the paint &minus and perhaps on Thursday and Friday. While the Lady Lions cruised to 12- and 21-point wins, Ft. Cobb-Broxton put itself through a pair of battles that included Friday's upset of Preston, which almost everyone had tabbed as the tournament favorite. It goes without saying that those wins took a lot out of the Lady Mustangs.

"We took advantage of Ft. Cobb's tired legs," Brown said, matter-of-factly. When asked if his team was a bit worn down, Ft. Cobb coach James Biddy offered a chuckle. "We put a lot of energy into those games, but we're not going to make any excuses," he said. "We knew when it started that it was a three-day tournament and that we'd have to play three tough games. We didn't have a lot left, but I still thought we came out, gave a good effort and just got beat by a better team tonight."

And a bigger one.

Howe boasts a front line that consists of Samantha Carter (5-foot-9), Katie BenAmor (5-foot-11) and Lindsay McCown (6-foot). Ft. Cobb's tallest starter was 5-foot-8.

"I told the girls today that Howe doesn't have the best post player we've seen...they've got the best two post players [BenAmor and McCown] we've seen. They knew what they had to do and that's go to the block and I knew if they kept going there, we'd be in trouble."

That's exactly what Howe did.

Autumn Klugh blocks out Howe's Katie BenAmor. Fort Cobb had to overcome size disadvantages all weekend at state.

The Howe trio scored all but two of the team's first-half points as the Lady Lions posted a 28-16 lead. McCown got to work in the first quarter with seven points, including a 3-pointer from beyond half-court to end the quarter. With her on the bench nearly the entire second quarter with foul trouble, BenAmor and Carter picked up the slack.

BenAmor scored eight in the second quarter and Carter six.

"We felt like yesterday that when Preston attacked them in the lane, they did some good things," Brown said. "That was our 'grand plan,' to attack them in the middle.

"It sounds pretty simple. We sure take an advantage of those big girls."

BenAmor finished the night with 15 points while McCown (12 points, 11 boards) and Carter (11 points, 12 boards) each posted a double-double.

Despite the frontline disadvantage and the deficit, Ft. Cobb still had one last hope. Her name was Autumn Klugh. The Ft. Cobb senior scored seven straight points as part of an 11-0 Lady Mustang run in the third quarter.

Klugh was spectacular the day before in guiding the Lady Mustangs past Preston. With her game-high 22 points, she had Ft. Cobb on the verge of a second straight upset win. The spurt pulled Ft. Cobb within 30-27 by the end of the third as Howe managed just two points in the period.

Brown sent a strong message to his team as Klugh and Fort Cobb closed in. "I told them, 'Guys, you can't win a game in one quarter, but you can sure lose one' and I think in some ways we were on the verge of doing that."

But after pulling within three with 1:06 to play in the third quarter, Ft. Cobb wouldn't score again for a stretch of 4:37. Meanwhile, after a called timeout and then the break between the third and fourth quarters, the Lady Lions were able to refocus.

The 2008 championship follows a title in 2004 and a runner-up finish in 2007 for the Howe girls.
Howe scored eight straight to start the fourth quarter, all by BenAmor and McCown.

"I think the timeouts stemmed their tide some," Brown said. "We got to set up a set play, run something to get a look in the lane and when we scored, we settled and played better from there. When you're in dire straits, it's good to have two or three post options. It makes me look smart."

And the Ft. Cobb gas tank was on empty.

"We just didn't have a lot left," Biddy said.

From there, it was a matter of free throws. A single miss haunted Cawhorn for a year. That demon, however, was exorcised on Saturday as she notched eight of her 10 points from 15 feet away.

"Last year, all we could think about was if I would have done this or if we would have done that, we would have won," she said. "This year, I was glad we had a little bit bigger lead, so there wasn't quite as much pressure.

"But I knew I still had to make those free throws."

Howe      12  16   2  23  -  53
Ft. Cobb   4  12  11  14  -  41
Howe (28-2) − Katie BenAmor 15, Lindsay McCwn 12, Samantha Carter 10, Taylor Cawhorn 10, Hannah Landeros 5.

Ft. Cobb (30-2) − Autumn Klugh 22, Addy Klugh 9, Brittney Johnson 4, Katie Tilley 4, Chelsea DeVaughan 2.

Tulsa World

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


Scoring leaders:

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.


Times Record

Lady Lions Take Pride In Title
Tuesday, March 4, 2008 10:03 AM CST
By Buck Ringgold

In the Howe High School gymnasium Sunday, Seniors Kirsten LaRosa, left, and Hannah Landeros take cell phone pictures of the Class A Oklahoma state championship trophy that they helped win Saturday as members of the Howe Lions girls basketball team.

HOWE − In the second half of Saturday's Class A state final against Fort Cobb-Broxton, Howe's big lead began to melt away.

Immediately, the Lady Lions were having flashbacks of last season's title game, when Howe lost to Cashion on a shot at the buzzer.

"We were all thinking, 'Oh no, not again,'" said junior center Samantha Carter. "There was no way we were going home with another silver ball."

The Lady Lions quickly pushed their lead back into double digits and regained control. Then, the players were just anxious to see the clock wind down to triple zeroes.

"I was wondering why the clock couldn't go any faster, because they kept fouling," junior point guard Taylor Cawhorn said. "It was the longest three minutes of my life."

Finally, the clock ran out on a 53-41 win and the Lady Lions proceeded to dogpile on one another in celebration. Then, instead of going home with another silver ball, the Lady Lions claimed the fourth state championship in school history and the first since 2004.

"It's just like the (Foreigner) song, 'It feels like the first time,'" said Howe coach Chris Brown, who was also on the sidelines for the Lady Lions' 2004 title run. "It's not any different."

The Lady Lions finished the season 28-2, winning their last 19 games. Howe also had a dominating postseason run, winning all seven playoff games by double digits, including an average margin of 15 points in the Lady Lions' three state tournament games.

Howe came into the tournament as the second seed behind Preston, the overwhelming preseason favorite. But Preston was upset by Fort Cobb-Broxton in the semifinals on Friday, opening the door even more for the Lady Lions.

"We didn't care who we played; we're just glad we won," junior forward Lindsay McCown said.

A main reason for Howe winning its state tournament games in dominating fashion was the play of its frontcourt, which includes Carter and junior forwards McCown and Katie BenAmor. All three players hit double figures in each of the Lady Lions' three wins, with BenAmor leading the way with an average of 19 points.

"We had to dominate the lane," BenAmor said.

Carter and McCown had double-doubles in the state title game as well, with McCown recording 12 points and 10 rebounds while Carter poured in 11 points and came down with 12 boards.

Foul shooting also helped the Lady Lions. Howe went 25 of 29 from the line in Saturday's win, and Carter made all 21 of her free-throw attempts in the three games at state, earning her a nickname of "Clutch" by her teammates.

"Early in the season, we shot free throws after practice," Brown said. "We would have to make 10 free throws before we left and over the year, we moved it up to 30.

"They're all highly motivated girls. I don't have to do a whole lot to motivate them; they can motivate themselves."

Brown added that his team's defensive play deserved just as much credit as any other facets the Lady Lions had in winning state.

"That's kind of been a forgotten staple, our defense," he said. "Beaver (Howe's opponent in Thursday's quarterfinal) had come in averaging 65 points a game and we held them to 51 and Fort Cobb had scored 60-plus points in the win over Preston and we held them to 41.

"We are content in our ability to guard people. Sometimes, they get a bad rap in how they guard people, but we've got players that can actually guard people."

The Lady Lions were still in a celebratory mood following the win. The gold ball was at the table during the team's postgame meal at an Oklahoma City restaurant and the trophy was on the scorer's table at the Howe gym Sunday as players took pictures of it on their cell phones.

Howe might be considered the favorite to win another gold ball next season, as the Lady Lions return all five starters, who will be seniors.

"These juniors have worked hard and they've waited their turn to be leaders as seniors," Brown said. "We've also got a good group of eighth graders coming in that will be ninth graders that's going to help in practice.

"I've felt that we didn't lose last year; we were just beaten by the clock. These kids, all throughout the tournament, weren't worried about who we were playing, and when we've had that mindset, they're pretty tough to beat. They have a taste of winning it all now and they're going to be motivated to do it again."