Deer Creek's Bayli Blanchard has long since lost count of how many free throws she's taken at practice.
“Every day, I don't know how many free throws I shoot, but it's a lot,” Blanchard said. “Coach knows that it's something that we needed to work on.”
It paid off for coach Totsy Manning's Antlers on Saturday in a 59-44 win over Shawnee.
Deer Creek was 23 of 26 from the free-throw line, including 13 of 14 in the fourth quarter.
Dakota Vann hit all six of her fourth-quarter free throws, including four in the final 1:30.
“I just was trying to stay focused and don't let the screaming and everything else get to me,” Vann said.
MCGUINNESS READY FOR NEXT YEAR
Bishop McGuinness' bid for a second consecutive Class 5A boys' state championship fell short, but the Irish bring back several important pieces next season.
“I'm gonna build a foundation, and we'll be ready to go next year,” said Irish coach Tondrell Durham. “We've just gotta use this time to go back to work and see what we can do about getting back here next year.”
McGuinness lost all five starters from the 2012 title team. The Irish started three seniors in Saturday's title-game loss to Tulsa Memorial.
Sophomore Will Lienhard, who grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds, and junior Stephen Amalong will be back in 2013-14, along with junior Brian Canfield, who contributed 17 minutes off the bench Saturday.