Jan. 30—ATOKA — The Latta Lady Panthers finished a perfect 12-of-12 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter and shot past Atoka 50-35 in a Friday night road game.
The Lady Panthers, ranked No. 17 in Class 2A, improved to 12-8 on the year, while the Lady Wampus Cats dipped to 7-12.
In the boys' game, Latta tried to rally from a double-digit first-half deficit but couldn't quite make up the difference in a 50-44 loss to host Atoka.
The Panthers fell to 9-10 on the year, while the Wampus Cats — ranked No. 12 in Class 3A — improved to 13-6.
Both Latta squads host local foe Allen tonight at the Latta Panther Fieldhouse before traveling to Tishomingo on Friday.
Latta 50, Atoka 35
Atoka got 3-pointers from Kerri Shields and Haidyn Campbell to start the game, but Latta ended the first period with a game-changing 11-0 run. The Lady Wampus Cats outscored Latta 13-10 in the second period to pull within 21-19 at halftime.
Latta took control in the second half, using a 15-8 run in the third quarter to make it 36-27, and then ended the contest by making all of its free throws over the final eight minutes.
"A lot of credit to coach (Jay) Ray and the Atoka girls, they came out and played really tough. They opened the game hitting back-to-back 3s in the first two possessions and got us down 6-0," said LHS girls coach Clay Plunk. "But our girls stuck to who we are and turned up the pressure a little. We held them scoreless the rest of the first quarter and got in a flow offensively."
Jayse Smith canned three 3-point baskets and scored a game-high 23 points for the Lady Panthers.
"Jayse shot it really well tonight and got us going early. and anytime you can go 12-of-12 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, it's huge. We showed some things as a team that will really pay off when playoffs roll around," Plunk said.
Kelbey Parnacher finished with 12 points for the Lady Panthers and Jakobi Worcester also reached double figures with 10 points. Kate Williams was next with eight points for the visitors.
Savannah Senkel hit the only other 3-pointer for Latta.
Campbell, a freshman, led the Atoka offense with nine points and Kyleigh Ritchie followed with eight. Zaylie Glover added six points for the home team.
Overall, Latta sank 18-of-20 free throws.
Atoka 50, Latta 44
The Wampus Cats led just 15-12 after quarter No. 1 but used a 13-7 run in the second quarter to take a 28-19 lead at the break.
The Panthers drilled four 3-point baskets in the third quarter — three by Sam Brown and one by Carter Dotson — and edged Atoka 12-11 to get within 39-31.
Latta owned a 13-11 advantage in the fourth quarter but couldn't complete the rally.
Brown hit four total 3-pointers and poured in a game-high 23 points for the Panthers. Dotson, Deakon Smith, and Parker Pogue chipped in six points apiece. Dotson made two 3-point shots for Latta and Pogue hit one attempt from deep.
Keisean Shields led Atoka with 19 points, while Adonis Holiman, who made a pair of 3-pointers, followed with 15.
Atoka finished 8-of-14 from the free-throw line and Latta made 3-of-7 attempts from the stripe.