In a sense, Heritage Hall stole one from Sequoyah-Tahlequah.
The Chargers Morgan Meacham turned the momentum of the game with three big steals in the final minutes, two of them which were converted into baskets, as No. 9 Heritage Hall upset No. 5 Sequoyah-Tahlequah, 39-35, Thursday night at Southern Nazarene University
In a Class 3A girls first round state tournmenbt game that saw 10 lead changes, Heritage Hall took a 33-32 lead on a basket by Abbie Winchester with less than four minutes remaining. Then Meacham started picking the Indians’ pockets.
Her steal and bucket on an assist from Erika Wakefield bumped the Chargers’ lead to three with 2:25 left. A charging foul on the Indians next possession was followed by Madi Moore sinking two free throws and the lead was five.
Meacham then stole the ball again and missed a layup but Wakefield followed for the putback and 39-32 lead, the biggest of the game for either team with just 1:46 left.
A 3-pointer by Sequoyah-Tahlequah’s Cenia Hayes and five missed free throws by the Chargers gave the Indians a chance in the final minute, but Meacham intercepted a pass in the waning moments to seal the win.
“Three huge steals there at the end,” said Heritage Hall coach Leslie Warner, whose team improved to 20-5. “We just don’t quit and we gutted it out. I couldn’t be more proud.”
Both teams struggled to score during the game but Heritage Hall finally got a little breathing room in the fourth when they began trying to score off of Sequoyah-Tahlequah’s trapping defense.
“We finally looked to attack a little bit more and instead of leaving our feet and making crazy passes we finally got it to the open girl,” Warner said.
Wakefield, a Tulsa signee, led Heritage Hall with a game-high 14 points. Audrey Ballou led the Indians with 9 points.
Sequoyah-Tahlequah coach Larry Callison said turnovers and poor shooting doomed the Indians.
“We had a lot of opportunities,” he said. “We had a lot of missed shots around the basket. I felt like we should have been up 10 or 12 at halftime.”
“Missed shots just killed us and free throws too, Turnovers hurt us all night long. You hate to go out and one you think you should have won. Our defense, I thought we played fine, we just couldn’t put the ball in the hole.”
The Indians finished the season at 25-3.