The Cyclones were on the verge a few times of putting away Oakley, but the Plainsmen kept rallying back.
Ottawa used a 9-0 run in a two-minute span in the fourth quarter to finish off a 57-44 victory Thursday in the first round of the Topside Tip-Off Tournament in Goodland.
“We did not have any consistency,” McCullough said. “We had a chance to put it away. It could have been [easier].”
Ottawa opened a 15-point lead with two minutes left in the first half only to see Oakley climb within 10 at 34-24 at halftime.
The Cyclones rolled up a 48-31 lead with two minutes left in the third quarter. Oakley scored 11 unanswered points to close the gap to 48-42 with just under six minutes left in the game.
“It was a combination of things,” McCullough said. “We had some kids where things were not going their way offensively. Shots were not falling. We were back on our heels. We got into foul trouble. Some kids had to back off [defensively]. They took advantage of that.
“The frustation part is we were not able put it away when we had a chance. Our defense did not carry us through.”
“We got on a run a the end and put it out of reach,” McCullough said. “It was a couple of steals. We have to do that from beginning to end.”
For most of three quarters, Ottawa was hitting shots all over the court. Ottawa went 20 of 44 from the field through three quarters. Most of those field goals came outside the paint.
“Our outside shooting was better than I anticipated,” McCullough said. “We knocked down those 12-to-17-foot jump shots. It was nice to see. They bottled up everything inside on us.”
Oakley, who has played in the 2A state tourney the past two seasons, liked to play fast. McCullough said Ottawa’s game plan was to try to keep them from getting up the floor so quickly.
“They were very quick about getting shots up,” McCullough said. “These girls are going to have to do a better job of transferring film session, practice sessions to the court.
“They killed us three or four times on the same inbounds play that we went over in practice and then we watched it on film.”
Sophomore Corie Fischer paced the Cyclones with 18 points, despite sitting out the final 6:34 of the first half after picking up her third foul. Tyra Lyday tossed in 12. Kylie Fischer netted 10 and Cydney Lewis had nine.
Ottawa (2-0) plays 3 p.m. today against Norton, which defeated Wray, 42-32.
Oakley (44) — Hemmert 8, Temaat 2, Dennis 21, Rath 7, Glassman 1, VanEaton 3.
Ottawa (57) — Lyday 12, Roecker 6, K. Fischer 10, C. Fischer 18, Lewis 9, Lancaster 2.