Feb. 13—LATTA — The Latta High School girl's basketball team nearly pulled off the upset heard around Class 2A.
The Lady Panthers missed two potential game-tying 3-pointers in the closing seconds of a 49-46 loss to Class 2A No. 1 Dale Friday night inside the Latta Panther Fieldhouse.
Coach Clay Plunk's team, ranked No. 18, dropped to 15-9 on the year, while the Lady Pirates left town at 23-1.
Kate Williams missed the first 3-point try, but teammate Jayse Smith tracked down a long rebound. With time running out, Jakobi Worcester caught an inbounds pass near the 3-point stripe and her turnaround jumper bounced off the back iron as time ran out.
"What better way to prepare for the playoffs than to play the No. 1 team in your class? and our girls showed that they are getting closer and closer to being ready to make a run," Plunk told The Ada News. "I'm so proud of our effort. We battled all night long. I'm looking forward to the next month with this team."
In the boys' contest, the juggernaut Dale boys used a big second quarter to take control and pulled away for a 66-41 win.
The top-ranked Pirates moved to 22-2, while Latta fell to 10-13.
Both Latta clubs will wrap up their regular season slate by hosting local rival Byng tonight back inside the Latta Panther Fieldhouse.
Dale 49, Latta 46
Latta held a slim 15-14 lead after the first quarter and boosted that advantage to 30-21 by halftime after outscoring the Lady Pirates 15-7 in the second quarter. Dale used a 17-8 surge in the third period to knot the score at 38-38 heading into the exciting fourth period.
"We ran out of gas a little in the third and (Teague) Muncy made some really tough plays in that stretch," Plunk said. "Even when we got down six or seven late, we never quit competing."
Smith paced the Latta effort with 17 points and made five 3-point baskets. Kate Williams also hit double figures for Latta with 11, including a trio of 3-pointers.
Worcester was next for Latta with seven points, Kelbey Parnacher chipped in six and Savannah Senkel ended up with five points.
Muncy led the DHS offense with 15 points and Ava Bell hit a pair of 3-pointers and scored 10 points. Gracee Radford and Kaleigh Strange scored seven points apiece for Dale.
Strange, Radford and Muncy all hit 3-point baskets for the visitors.
Dale 66, Latta 41
Dale led 22-13 after the first quarter and the Pirates seized control with a 20-5 run in the second period that led to a 42-18 halftime advantage.
Dale only outscored Latta 24-23 over the final two periods.
Caymen Smith finished a perfect 3-of-3 from 3-point range and led Latta with 11 points. Brody Williams sank 3-of-4 field goals and scored seven points for the Panthers. Hunter Price was next with five points for the Panthers.
Parker Pogue and Kaiden Goolsby also knocked down 3-point baskets for Latta.
Dayton Forsythe, who plans to play basketball for the University of Oklahoma, finished with 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field. He made two 3-pointers and also had five assists and four steals. Deakon Jones also reached double figures in the balanced Dale offense with 12 points and made 4-of-5 free throws.
Easton Edmondson and Trayden Chambers contributed eight points each for the Pirates.
Dale's relentless defense helped force 24 Latta turnovers.