A buzzer-beating shot by Keylee Kirk found its way through the hoop Tuesday to give the Pawhuska Lady Huskies a heart-stopping 45-44 overtime victory in the high school basketball season opener last week at Perry.
PHS head coach Austin Minshall called the Dec. 3 triumph over the home-standing Lady Maroons "one of the best wins I’ve ever been associated with."
"Coming like it did, at the start the season, it may set the tone for our whole year," said Minshall, the third-year coach of the Lady Huskies. "A game like that definitely gives us some things to build upon."
Pawhuska’s freshman- and sophomore-loaded squad responded to one challenge after another in front of a loud and partisan Perry crowd, Minshall said. The Lady Huskies scored a bucket in the final seconds of regulation to force the bonus period.
Less than 10 seconds remained in the extra frame when a Lady Maroon bucket put the Pawhuska girls down by a point.
"We called time out and drew up a switch-and-roll play with Keylee and Sydney (Sellers)," explained Minshall. "It didn’t go quite like we’d planned, but Keylee somehow got off a scoop floater as time was running out.
"The shot bounced around and — finally — dropped through just as the buzzer sounded," the coach said.
Kirk finished with 17 points to lead all scorers. While emphasizing that a total-team effort was responsible for the Lady Huskie triumph, Minshall pointed out that sophomore Kirk "was totally fearless, throughout the game."
Earlier in the evening, Perry held off PHS by a 64-58 final score in the boys’ contest. The Huskies, with two returning starters, fell behind the Maroons early and trailed at halftime, 28-20. Pawhuska cut the deficit to three in the third period before a technical foul was called on the Huskie bench.
"I argued about it because I didn’t think my guys had done anything to deserve the call," PHS coach Monty Unruh said. "I think, maybe, there was something yelled from the stands that they thought it came from someone on our bench."
The technical-foul calls kicked off a 16-point run by the Maroons and, despite chipping away at that lead to the bitter end, the Huskies were only able to get as close than six.
Pawhuska junior Trey Redeagle netted 19 points — including a trio of three-pointers — to lead the Huskies. Also, sophomore J.R. Jones knocked down a dozen and senior Marcus Young added nine. Daniel Bogney made seven points for Pawhuska and senior Tyler Culver chipped in five. Trent Barnett and Brad Moreland tallied three points each to round out the Huskie scoring.
Inclimate weather forced the cancellation of back-to-back matchups, including the scheduled home opener last Friday against Barnsdall. The start of the Sperry Invitational Basketball Tournament was pushed back from Monday to Tuesday, when the Pawhuska boys’ and girls’ squads were to play their first-round games.
The Huskies were slated to meet the Class 4A Glenpool Warriors in a 5:30 p.m. showdown and the Lady Huskies were to follow with a 7 p.m. tipoff versus the tourney co-hosts, the Lady Pirates of Sperry. Tournament games are scheduled to continue through Saturday.
A year ago, the Perry Lady Maroons had used nearly the same lineup in handing the Lady Huskies a pair of lopsided losses. It was an entirely different result when the two squads met for last week’s opener.
The 89er East Conference rivals were tied 15-all at the end of the first quarter and the Lady Huskies went ahead at halftime, 28-25. Perry held a one-bucket lead (34-32) entering the final quarter, but Pawhuska battled back to even the scoring at 37 by the end of regulation.
Sarah Phillippi, another member of PHS’s stellar sophomore class, scored eight points against the Lady Maroon. She hit 2-of-2 at the free-throw line.
PHS senior Haley Malaske and sophomore Genie Herren chipped in seven apiece for the Lady Huskies, while freshman Sydney Sellers added four. Andie Sweeden, the junior floor leader of the Pawhuska squad, had one basket. Scoring leaders for the Lady Maroons were Jessica Venard and Chelsea Deterding with nine each. Rylee Bellmon contributed eight points and Megan Drake finished with seven.
Pawhuska’s coach said strong defense played a key factor in overcoming the Lady Maroon. He gave extra credit to the full-court efforts of Herren — who was relentless in dogging Venard, Perry’s ace freshman guard.
"Genie was outstanding on defense," said the coach. "She had a tough assignment but kept up the pressure throughout regulation and the overtime, and she only committed two fouls all night."
Herren nailed a three-pointer in the high-scoring first quarter and went 4-for-7 at the free-throw line. Kirk connected in the second stanza for the only other Lady Huskie trey.
Minshall said Sellers provided strong inside defense and another freshman, Mary Jo Upchurch gave PHS energy off the bench. A put-back basket by Sellers with less than two minutes to play in OT was vital for the Huskies, he said.
"That kept us within two," the coach said. "Without it, we’d have been in big trouble."
The Lady Huskies connected on 38 percent of their field-goal attempts while holding Perry to just 25 percent shooting. At the charity stripe, Pawhuska canned 13 of 21 attempts and the Lady Maroons made 13 of 23. Perry held the edge in rebounding, 34 to 28, although Minshall said much of that advantage was gained early in the contest.
A year ago, the Pawhuska girls played for over a than a month before notching their initial victory in the 10th season contest.
"It’s good to get the first down early," said Minshall of his team’s 1-0 start.
Pawhuska 45, Perry 44 (OT)
Lady Huskies: 15-13-4-5-8 — 45
Lady Maroon: 15-10-9-3-7 — 44
Lady Huskies (1-0) — Keylee Kirk 17, Sarah Phillippi 8, Haley Malaske 7, Genie Herren 7, Sydney Sellers 4, Andie Sweeden 2, Mary Jo Upchurch 0. Coach: Austin Minshall.
Lady Maroons (0-1): Chelsea Detering 9, Jessica Venard 9, Rylee Bellmon 8, Megan Drake 7, Shauni Edwards 3, Karlie Arnold 2, Mikenzi Richards 0, Olivia Buck 0.
Maroons 64, Huskies 58
Pawhuska (0-1) — Trey Redeagle 19, J.R. Jones 12, Marcus Young 9, Tyler Culver 5, Daniel Bogney 7, Trent Barnett 3, Brad Moreland 3. Coach: Monty Unruh.
(Perry scoring and points by quarter were unavailable at press time.)