The Duncan Banner
RUSH SPRINGS —
Trilogies in sports are nothing unusual, but very rarely do they happen on a yearly basis in high school basketball.
For the third straight year, the No. 5 Sterling Tigers and the No. 6 Velma-Alma Comets met in the finals of the Black Diamond Tournament at Rush Springs.
But, unlike the past two years there was a plot twist this time around as the Tigers used clutch free throws down the stretch to claim a 52-48 victory.
“I just told my boys that’s a good team and they made plays down the stretch,” V-A coach Kenny Bare said. “We just needed to play better and make plays. Our effort was there all night, it was just a couple of bad decisions near the end. The tide turned on us there in the end.”
Trevyn Woolbright made five free throws in with less than two minutes remaining to help the Tigers keep the Comets at bay, as V-A suffered only its second loss of the season.
V-A held a two point lead at 41-39 with 4:39 left in the fourth quarter, but was never fully in control in what turned out to be a physical game on both sides of the ball.
An exciting first half saw multiple ties and lead changes occur, but only after SHS held a 9-4 lead at the 2:40 mark of the first quarter.
Despite holding an 11-8 advantage going into the second, the Comets took the lead into the locker room at halftime, 25-23.
“You just relate the frustration of the first half to Kenny Bare and Velma-Alma,” Sterling coach Bink Woolbright said. “He’s a great defensive coach and has a great group of athletes. It’s hard to get an offense going against them. Trevyn (Woolbright) hit some shots early on and was fortunate to do so. I was proud of our kids though for executing when they needed to.”
Sterling’s biggest lead in the third quarter was three points, but only momentarily as the Comets managed to tie the game both times the Tigers held a three point lead at 32-32 and 44-44.
Going into the fourth quarter, the Comets were still in front leading 38-37.
V-A managed to get within two points with seven seconds left, but it wasn’t to be on the night.
Jaz Gayanich led the scoring attack for the Comets (12-2) with 16 points followed by Dallen Mercer with 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Zac Cable added nine points with Connor Sullivan putting in seven points.
“Sterling is number five for a reason,” Bare said. “We’re right there with them also. I just hope they will look at the tape and realize what we need to do to get better. I think our guys will use this as something to show us we’re not where we need to be.”
Sterling (17-1) was led by Trevyn Woolbright with 23 points, followed by Mickey Milam with 14 points.
V-A will be on the road against Walters Tuesday night with tip-off set for 6:30 p.m.