OKLAHOMA CITY — Fort Gibson had the talent to unseat three-time Class 4A state girls golf champion Hilldale. After one round at Lake Hefner on Wednesday, the Tigers also had a sizable lead. All they needed was one last dose of leadership from their lone senior.
Emilee Rigsby delivered, on and off the course.
She fired a second consecutive 74 Thursday to finish two strokes behind state medalist Chloe Black of Newcastle. Teammates Shelby Phillips, Abby, Rachel Psomas and Bailey Smith followed suit with a second straight group round of 325, giving Fort Gibson a 14-stroke victory over Hilldale.
It was a steady performance sparked by the occasionally spectacular shot, like the hole-in-one that Shelby Phillips drained on the 131-yard No. 17.
“They’re a good group of girls. I’m very proud of them,” coach Gary Hendrix said after Fort Gibson’s first girls golf title. “They played two really good rounds.”
Two really good rounds that were bridged by some very important words from the team’s senior tone-setter.
“I had four or five little talks with them,” Rigsby said. “We had a team meeting last night. I told them, ‘We don’t have to fight for first, we have to protect it. We don’t have to go out knowing we’re in second like we were the past three years. We just have to protect. Play our game and it will fall.’”
Rigsby talked to them again at the course before they got out of the car. She spoke again near the cart barn where scores would be posted, and then again before everyone teed off.
Hilldale had been Fort Gibson’s nemesis all season, and at state the past three years. Now the Tigers were so close to finally replacing them on the medal stand.
“I thought, ‘We need this. This team needs this. This program, this school, we needed it,’” Rigsby said.
Rigsby needed it. She came in having played a fantastic senior season, with seven wins, including conference and regional titles, but she said she wasn’t swinging the club well in the days following her regional triumph.
With an important summer upcoming, a prelude to her bid to crack Northeastern State’s lineup next year, Rigsby needed to go out a winner.
Black’s first-round 71 put her in superior position to hold off Rigsby for the individual title. But there was no keeping Rigsby’s squad from that elusive team championship.
Phillips’ first ace helped bring the Tigers home.
“I didn’t even really know what club to hit,” Phillips said. “I was trying to decide and I picked the higher club, a seven, and choked down on it and took a swing. I hadn’t been hitting anything really solid. I was like, ‘Well, I don’t really want to be short.’ ”
She was dead solid perfect. Phillips had provided Fort Gibson a signature shot at the program’s seminal tournament.
“We’ve worked hard this year. We’ve put in the time,” Rigsby said. “I can’t even explain how great this feels.”
Class 4A Championship
At Lake Hefner Golf Club, Oklahoma City
1. Fort Gibson 325-325—650
2. Hilldale 348-316—664
3. Elk City 358-354—712
4. Seminole 373-367—740
5. Newcastle 367-376—743
6. Broken Bow 374-375—749
7. Ada 376375—751
8. Clinton 388-378—766
9. Muldrow 408-404—812
10. Grove 420-403—823
11. Poteau 416-412—828
12. Cushing 422-411—833
1. Chloe Black, Newcastle 71-75—146
2. Emilee Rigsby, Fort Gibson 74-74—148
3. Kinsley Hall, Elk City 77-74--151
4. Shelby Phillips, Fort Gibson 77-80—157
5. Mollie Pruett, Broken Bow 79-80—159
6. Hallie Ward, Tuttle 80-81—161
7. Kennedi Puckett, Hilldale 87-77—164
8: Katie Kirkhart, Hilldale 86-79—165
9. Kenzie Kirkhart, Hilldale 86-80—166
T10. Laina Schroeder, Bristow 88-81—169
(won 10th-place medal in playoff)
T10. Abby Psomas, Fort Gibson 86-83—169
T10. Shelby McGlothlin, Hilldale 89-80—169
Fort Gibson: Rachel Psomas 88-88—176, Bailey Smith 118-112—230
Hilldale: Kayla Morton 89-93—182
Elk City: Sierra Stout 88-84—172, Kelcee Millican 93-85—178, Morgan Knight 100-111—211, Morgan Graham 125-122—247
Seminole: Makena Cramer 90-85—175, Meirna McHugh 89-92—181, Bailey Baker 92-94—186, Madison Rigney 102-96—198, Deonna Conrad 124-133—257
Newcastle: Lauren Evans 92-82—174, Morgan Duckwall 89-95—184, Aurora Scott 115-124—239
Broken Bow: Kirstin Fullenwider 97-97—194, Makayla Brumley 99-96—195, Jaxie Ward 99-102—201, Shalee Brantley 108-106—214
Ada: Kendal Wilson 89-87—176, Meredith McGill 91-92—183, Hannah Price 93-102—195, Taylor Durr 103-94—197, Lakshana Ramakrishnan 133-126—259
Clinton: Elly Martin 86-86—172, MaKayla Scott 106-91—197, Ashlin Murray 99-100—199, Adrianna Glance 100-104—204, Shelby Ulrich 103-101—204
Muldrow: Cassidy Pettigrew 94-94—188, Kirsten Matlock 104-102—206, Lexi Israel 101-107—208, Montanna Ramey 109-101—210
Grove: Trina Shorter 103-95—198, Tabi Morrow 103-100—203, Abby Hacker 108-98—206, Kelsey McGhee 106-110—216
Poteau: Dallas Terry 90-87—177, Shelli Cobb 104-99—203, Randolyn Rice 109-112—221, Ashlyun Smith 113-114—227, Dru Martin 116-119—235
Cushing: Kelsey Laverman 103-96—199, Riley Payne 105-104—209, Amaire Griffeth 109-103—212, Tiffany Deer 105-108—213
Cache: Jamie Bonnarens, 84-89—173
Catoosa: Amariah Berry 104-120—224
Checotah: Ashlyn Williams 118-119—237
Chickasha: Daphni Jennings 88-93—181