SPORTS

Huskie hoopsters survive in finale of Sperry tourney

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital

SPERRY — A matchup between two hot-shooting teams came down to the final shot in Saturday’s consolation round of the Sperry High School Invitational Boys’ Basketball Tournament.

Pawhuska preserved a one-point triumph by shooing away Caney Valley’s last field goal attempt with less than three seconds remaining. The 56-55 win raised the Huskies’ season record to 2-6.

“We reminded our guys that this would be their last game for 2015,” PHS head coach Chad Kills Crow said. “I think they wanted to go into the break feeling a little better about things.”

Kills Crow is hoping the victory will give the Huskies momentum to start the 2016 portion of their schedule. The Huskies and Trojans came into the contest with two tourney losses apiece, but both squads showed strong offensive potential on Saturday.

Caney Valley held a 14-12 edge after the contentious opening quarter. After going ahead by as many as seven, the Trojans went into halftime with a three-point lead, 25-22. Pawhuska’s top scorers were juniors Mattheu Rector and William Merrell, with 8 and 7 points, while senior Troy Gagan had racked up 14 for CVHS.

Pawhuska exploded to score 27 points in the third quarter, with Rector and Merrell doubling up on their previous totals. After moving in front, 29-27, on a Rector three-pointer with five minutes left in the period, the Huskies increased their advantage to 10 points when Merrell stroked a jumper just before the quarter ended.

The Trojans wasted little time before firing back, however, and the lead changed hands three times in the middle of the final period. A trey by Rector at the 3:49 mark put the Huskies in front to stay, 54-52. With 39 seconds remaining, Gagan pulled Caney Valley within a point by cashing in a one-and-one free throw opportunity for his 32nd and 33rd points.

Gagan and the Trojans got a shot at the win after Pawhuska missed a free throw with 16 seconds left. The Huskie defense made a dogged last stand in the final seconds. Gagan took an in-bounds’ pass and drove toward the hoop, but Rector got a piece of Gagan’s desperation field-goal attempt. Rector also led the PHS scorers with 22 points and Merrell added 14.

Pawhuska’s boys lost a Friday night losers-bracket game to the Barnsdall Panthers, 61-48. The Huskies were given three technical fouls in the initial quarter, with the first one (which was due to a bizarre scorebook problem) pre-empting the opening tipoff. Before the period ended, two more technicals had resulted in six free-throw opportunities for the Panthers, who converted on five of them.

PHS scratched back to within eight points on a couple of occasions in the second and third quarters, but Barnsdall held off the comeback by hitting 22 field goals, compared to the Huskies’ 18. Pawhuska matched the Panthers’ six three-pointers but could not keep pace at the free throw line — where Barnsdall sank 11 of 17 and the Huskies made half of their 10 opportunities.

Huskie rebounders did their jobs, pulling down 38 caroms (including 14 offensive) to more than double the 17 (4) total of the Panthers. J.R. Young and Rector had six boards apiece for PHS. Freshman Christian Warford (the son of Barnsdall’s new head coach) led the Panthers with 22 points (three from long range) while fellow starters Joe Gott, Derek Wilson, and Tyler Wilson all scored in double figures. On Saturday afternoon, Barnsdall lost to Nowata in tournament’s fifth-place game.

Pawhuska and Barnsdall will meet again in the first hardcourt outing after the holiday break. The Monday, Jan. 4, game at Oren Terrill Field House is to be followed with a one at Barnsdall’s Joe Gilbert Arena on Friday, Jan. 15.

PANTHERS 61, HUSKIES 48

Pawhuska: 12 - 14 - 5 - 17 — 48

Barnsdall: 26 - 9 - 16 -10 — 61

Pawhuska Huskies (1-6) — Mattheu Rector 11, Bradley Moreland 8, Ben Gray 6, J.R. Young 5, Hayden Henley 4, Lance Harden 4, Tucker Helmer 3, Sam West 3, William Merrell 3, Rocky Murray 0. Coach: Chad Kills Crow.

Barnsdall Panthers (5-2) — Christian Warford 22, Joe Gott 14, Derek Wilson 12, Tyler Wilson 10, Elijah Gott 2, Bradley Bickford 1. Coach: Clif Warford.

HUSKIES 56, TROJANS 55

Pawhuska: 12 - 10 - 27 - 7 — 56

Caney Valley: 14 - 11 14 -16 — 55

Pawhuska Huskies (2-6) — Mattheu Rector 21, William Merrell 15, James Young 9, Hayden Henley 2, Bradley Moreland 2, Ben Gray 2, Brian Jeffers 2, Sam West 2, Lance Harden 1, Tucker Helmer 0, Rocky Murray 0, Kody Linde 0.

Caney Valley Trojans (5-6) — Troy Gagan 33, Cooper Eden 11, Logan Hunt 6, Parker Connor 3, Hunter Hines 2. Coach: Taylor Brinker.