EDMOND — Defending 4A state champion Anadarko had no trouble handling 6A schools Edmond North and Edmond Memorial in the first two rounds of the Edmond Open basketball tournament.
The Lady Warriors ran into a different beast in Saturday night's championship game against two-time defending 6A champ Edmond Santa Fe.
The Lady Wolves defeated Anadarko, 59-35, in a contest where the outcome was decided by halftime.
Playing in their home gym, the Lady Wolves went on a 15-0 run as Anadarko did not score for more than seven minutes during a stretch that overlapped the first and second periods.
Santa Fe outscored Anadarko 15-2 in the second quarter as the Lady Warriors could not match the Lady Wolves speed, quickness and depth.
“Every class has their elite,” Anadarko coach Jeff Zinn said. “I think Santa Fe is the elite.”
Junior guard Tamara Lee scored 15 points to lead the Lady Wolves while 5-3 senior point guard Cameerah Graves, the only starter back from last year's state title team, added 12 points.
“Tonight, you got to see some outstanding team defense,” Santa Fe coach Paul Bass said. “That was a great performance right there. We just haven't been playing good defense and these young girls are starting to understand what it takes.”
Anadarko star Lakota Beatty, who has committed to Oklahoma State, led the Lady Warriors with 16 points. She hit three early three-pointers then Santa Fe made a defensive adjustment.
“We tried a little junk defense at the first and obviously it didn't work real well,” Bass said. “We just went right back to our man and our spread which is what we hang our hat on.
“When she has the ball, she is a threat to shoot even if you are standing next to her. We made sure we got into her grill and her face.
“It's easy to sit back and let three-point shooters shoot, but if you make them have to drive all the time and run and move to get shots, they are going to get tired and that's what we saw.”
Santa Fe led 31-15 at halftime and 47-23 after the third quarter. Even though Santa Fe lost seven seniors to graduation last season, it doesn't appear the Lady Wolves (5-1) have fallen far.
“We just got athletes that know how to play the style we like, the run and gun and pressure defense,” Bass said. “We want steals so we can go score.”
Meanwhile, Zinn said the loss will benefit Anadarko (3-1) down the road.
“We lost to Shawnee last year in the finals of the Mid-America Tournament by about 20 and after that we started developing as a team. We didn't lose after that.
“Sometimes you need that one loss to toughen up your team and get them more focused in practice.”