FORT WALTON BEACH – Early in Saturday’s championship game of the 2012 Indian Shootout at Choctawhatchee High School, Choctaw’s girls found themselves in a battle.
Tied at 13-13 with Jonesboro (Ga.) after eight minutes of play, the Lady Indians were facing adversity on their home court for the first time this season.
That adversity lasted just one quarter.
Senior guard LaKeisha Clay connected on three consecutive three-pointers and the Lady Indians opened the second quarter on a 13-2 run that eventually led to a 58-47 win and the shootout championship.
“I’m proud of the kids,” said Choctaw head coach Don Brown, who watched his team improve to 18-0 on the season. “We came back and really played better than we did last night. Any time you host a tournament, the first goal is to win it.”
Clay’s offensive efforts went a long way toward helping the Indians win their own tournament. Connecting on five of her seven attempts from three-point territory, Clay led all scorers with 21 points. She also grabbed eight rebounds and provided relentless defense for an Indian group that forced 22 Jonesboro turnovers.
“One of our big things on this team is that everybody has a role,” said Brown. “LaKeisha can play. And she fills a lot of roles for us.”
Also playing big for Choctaw was Florida State signee Brittany Brown, who added 19 points, seven steals and six rebounds. Brown was named Indian Shootout MVP, while Clay was named to the all-tournament team.
After leading 26-21 at the half, Choctaw used another big run in the third quarter to pull away. The Lady Indians scored 14 of the quarter’s first 20 points, expanding their lead to as many as 13 points.
Jonesboro attempted to extend the game in the fourth quarter with fouls, but six free throws from guard Brittany Washington helped close out the 11-point win. Washington finished with eight points.
Now 18-0, Choctaw will next head to a tournament in Gainesville, where the Lady Indians will face Steinbrenner Prep of Tampa on Friday.