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story.lead_photo.caption Natalie Heckman of Blair Oaks handles the ball Sunday against Deer Creek in the third-place game of the Jefferson Bank Holiday Hoops Classic at Rackers Fieldhouse. Photo by Greta Cross / News Tribune.

The Blair Oaks Lady Falcons would have been happy to call it a day after the first quarter.

The Lady Falcons trailed by just a point at 15-14 after the opening eight minutes Sunday against the Deek Creek Lady Antlers, the No. 1 team in Class 6A in Oklahoma, in the third-place game of the Jefferson Bank Holiday Hoops Classic at Rackers Fieldhouse.

But they had to play the final three quarters. And when the Lady Antlers turned up the pressure, they showed why they are worthy of their lofty ranking.

"We didn't handle it very well, obviously," Lady Falcons coach Darren Heckman said after Blair Oaks dropped an 82-46 decision to Deer Creek.

A layup by Mallorie Fick pulled Blair Oaks to within a point at 21-20 with a little less than six minutes remaining in the second quarter. The Lady Antlers then went on a 24-2 run to close out the half that turned a one-point lead into a 23-point bulge at 45-22.

The Lady Antlers used a stifling defense to pick up turnovers, especially late in the quarter. Deer Creek capped the half by hitting three 3-pointers in the final minute and was 11-of-23 from distance in the game.

"The problem is their press," Heckman said. "We started to hurry, which we didn't want to do. We started to go to the corner, which we didn't want to do.

"And once that started, their confidence grew. Prior to that, we were getting shots and guarding well."

Throughout the three-day Classic, the Lady Antlers came at their opponents in waves off the bench.

"There's no difference between their 10th girl and their first girl, they go 10 deep," Heckman said. "There's not a difference in what you have to worry about in any of the 10."

The Lady Antlers outscored the Lady Falcons 25-11 in the third quarter to extend their advantage to 70-33. The fourth quarter was played with a running clock.

Blair Oaks played hard for the entire 32 minutes Sunday.

"Attitude is something you can always control, regardless of the score," Heckman said. "We were still driving for balls in the fourth quarter.

"I feel better about our effort today than I did (Saturday), even though we got beat by 20 more points"

The 82 points were just two away from tying the tournament record set by Jefferson City in 2011.

The first quarter was definitely the highlight Sunday for the Lady Falcons. They scored the first five points of the game and led for much of the quarter,

Bailey Rissmiller finished with six of her team-high 12 points in the quarter. She was named to the all-tournament team.

"We put a lot on her, but we're not asking her to do anything she's not capable of doing," Heckman said.

Kaitlyn Kolb was a strong presence inside in the first eight minutes, totaling four points and pulling down six rebounds.

"That's what we need her to do, rebound and make those shots around the rim," Heckman said.

Heckman hoped the Lady Falcons use the experience gained in the tournament as a positive for the remainder of the schedule.

"We play in this tournament to get better," Heckman said. "We got guarded really well, we played some good teams that pushed us.

"Now we need to take the effort that we did have in these three days and use it the rest of the season. It can be a big benefit, regardless of who we were playing."

Deer Creek (7-2) had four players finish in double figures, led by Skylar Vann's 19 points.

Blair Oaks (4-6) will play Friday at Fatima.

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