Iota slips past Oakdale in overtime to claim 5-AA title

KINDER – Iota’s hopes of winning the 5-2A district title looked bleak after one quarter Saturday when the Lady Dogs squared off with Oakdale at Kinder High School in a special playoff game for the league crown.

The Lady Dogs had hit just two shots from the floor in the first quarter and trailed the Lady Warriors 16-5 heading into the second frame.

But Iota rallied from the early deficit, tied the game at the end of regulation and outscored Oakdale 9-4 in overtime to win the championship, 57-52.

“It did not look real good for us early on,” said Iota coach Stan Baggett following the victory. “But we battled and I’m so proud of these kids.

“Once we fell behind 16-5, the kids plugged away and they battled the whole time. This was a big, big win for us.”

Oakdale looked to have the advantage in overtime when the Lady Warriors scored the first four points to take a 52-48 lead with just over two minutes remaining in the extra period.

However, Iota responded with back-to-back 3-pointers from Anna Lege and Tori Stroderd to reclaim the lead at 54-52.

“When Oakdale went up four in overtime, I thought ‘hey, we gave them a heck of a game’” said Baggett. “And then Anna and Tori hit the threes. That was two huge shots.”

Oakdale had three possessions in the final minute, but the Lady Warriors turned the ball over each time due to Iota’s pressure.

Lege hit a free throw with five seconds remaining and Stroderd sank two with less than a second to go to seal the victory.

“Our defense was outstanding tonight, especially on the last three or four possessions of the game,” said Baggett. “We didn’t let them get the ball down low. We did a good job of tipping the ball away and it was just a great team effort.”

Iota’s shooting performance on the night was not quite what Baggett had hoped for. The Lady Dogs connected on just 10 of their 33 shots from beyond the 3-point line and went 21-for-55 overall from the floor.

“You know, we didn’t shoot the lights out, but we really hit some big shots when we needed to,” said Baggett. “We hit some big ones now.”

Iota led once in the first half when Allison Baggett drained a 3-pointer to start the contest. The Lady Warriors answered with a 3-pointer of their own and took the lead on the next possession with a jumper in the lane.

Iota trailed from then on until Dominiqua Thomas hit a layup with 3:16 remaining in third quarter to give the Lady Dogs their first lead (31-30) since the opening minute.

Another layup by Thomas and back-to-back 3-pointers from Lege and Adalie Wriborg pushed Iota’s lead to 39-35 heading into the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter saw three lead changes before Strodered tied the game at 48-48 with just over a minute to go.

Iota had the ball for the final minute and a half but a last-second shot by Thomas fell short, forcing overtime.

Allison Baggett led Iota with four 3-pointers and 19 points. She was followed by Stroderd with three 3-pointers and 15 points. Lege dropped in two long balls and finished with seven points. Katelyn Regan also scored seven.

Also contributing in the victory were Wriborg with five points and Thomas with four.

Oakdale was paced by Donisha Allison and Natanya Jones with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Neka Jones scored 11.

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