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Tuttle topples Fort Gibson for title

Tuttle celebrates after beating Fort Gibson in the Class 4A girls high school basketball state championship game Saturday at State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]
Tuttle celebrates after beating Fort Gibson in the Class 4A girls high school basketball state championship game Saturday at State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]

Hadley Periman kept her focus as Tuttle came out of a timeout.

The Tigers had the ball and all of the momentum but Periman wasn’t going to take her foot off the gas.

“I knew we had some time left and I knew anything can happen at state so I just thought I just need to take it to the hole.”

Periman did just that.

She received the pass at the rim, rose and scored through the foul. The 6-foot-2 junior forward emphatically yelled and stomped her feet as she made her way to the free-throw line with the Tuttle fan base in a frenzy.

Periman’s score was apart of a big fourth-quarter run by Tuttle that lifted the Tigers to a 53-38 win Saturday over Fort Gibson for its first-ever girls basketball state championship.

Tuttle scored 14 straight points in the fourth period, and ended the game on a 14-2 run to secure the Class 4A title.

“Best feeling in the world,” Tuttle forward Landry Allen said. “I’ve been dreaming of this since I was a little kid and it’s just awesome. It’s so much fun.”

Allen dominated on Saturday afternoon just as she did throughout the state tournament. The 6-foot-3 sophomore led all scorers with 17 points while recording seven rebounds and five blocks. Her length next to Periman was a defensive force for Tuttle and the Tigers’ offense benefited.

“We’re all so good defensively,” Allen said. “Like me and Hadley, we go out there and try to do our best and when we get that block it just pumps up more so it’s awesome.”

Madi Surber routinely found her way behind the Fort Gibson’s defense after either Allen or Periman made a defensive stop. Surber finished with 10 points, six rebounds and two steals.

Surber, along with Storie Driver who knocked down three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points, led Tuttle’s guards offensively.

It was vital as Tuttle and Fort Gibson battled in a game that went back-and-forth for nearly the entire game.

Fort Gibson’s Graci Shildnight and Jordan Gann were instrumental. They both scored 13 points and knocked down big shots in key moments, finding easy scores at the rim.

But in the fourth quarter, it was all Tuttle that shut down Fort Gibson, allowing just six points in the period. Fort Gibson could not recover.

“We didn’t really adjust we just quit making mental mistakes,” Tuttle coach Brian Lester said. “That third quarter, we were playing hard but we gave up four uncontested layups in that quarter. People were just laying it off the glass and we don’t do that.

“So really all we talked about in that timeout was we’re right where we want to be. Do your job, don’t try to do anyone else’s, don’t try to make a special play. Just do what you do and we’ll make plays out of that. And I don’t think they got an open look until the very end when we were celebrating.”

The first girls’ basketball state championship for Tuttle adds to its decorated athletic program. Tuttle also won in softball, wrestling and cheerleading this season.

“I can’t describe the way I feel for our kids,” Lester said. “You look around and there’s a lot of pressure at Tuttle because everybody’s good. So if you’re not it’s like, ‘what are you not doing that everyone else is?’ And I know our kids feel it at times and I know our coaches feel it. I’m just.. it’s unreal.”

Tuttle will look to continue next year. The Tigers will graduate just two seniors from the championship roster and likely will be considered as one of the favorites to win it all again.

“Just try to continue the tradition,” Surber said. “Coach Lester got us all coached up, I think we’re going to be good next year too.”