Talk about following the same script.
When Waurika and Velma-Alma resumed their ancient basketball series Friday night, the story line for both games was almost identical — just about the time a close game seemed to be developing, a rout broke out.
During Senior Night at J. M. Carey Fieldhouse, Waurika’s boys trailed the Class A fifth-ranked Comets by two points midway through the third quarter, when V-A unleashed a 23-4 run and cruised to a 62-44 victory.
In the curtain-raiser, the Lady Eagles had a lead with just over a minute remaining in the first quarter against the favored Lady Comets, when a 3-pointer by Teddi Southerland triggered a 14-0 explosion that led to a 66-35 Velma-Alma win.
Although the Comets came into their final regular-season game at 17-3 and Waurika’s boys had lost six of their last nine games, nothing was easy for V-A in the first 19-1/2 minutes.
Waurika trailed, 26-18, at halftime and began closing the gap in the third quarter behind a pair of buckets by Leo Roberts and a short jumper by Mason Johnson. When Mason Wilkerson connected with 4:33 remaining, the Eagles had pulled within 28-26.
Then Velma-Alma got the hot hand and turned up the gas under its full-court defense. Guard L.L. Humphreys, who hadn’t scored, nailed a pair of 3-pointers that ignited a 19-4 flurry and the Comets caught their breath at the end of the third quarter with a 47-30 lead.
Waurika never recovered. The Comets’ run rose to 31-6 and a 57-33 edge, before head coach Kenny Bare went deep into his bench in the final 3:30.
“We caught a spark, but the big thing was that we started making shots. This game is a lot easier when you’re making shots,” said Bare, who rotated line-ups by using 11 different players in the first half.
“That’s something we’ve done a lot this season, because we like to get out and run,” he noted. “I thought we played pretty good in the first half, playing all those guys, but it’s tough to get a rhythm going when you’re playing that many.”
Initially, Waurika did it’s part in disrupting Velma-Alma’s flow by playing deliberately on offense, a scheme head coach Joe Masoner unveiled three nights before, when WHS defeated Bray-Doyle.
The change was evident in the first quarter, as the Eagles took an early 6-2 lead, and despite seven points by V-A’s Zac Cable, Waurika trailed just 14-11 at the end of the initial period.
Wilkerson opened the second quarter with a basket in the paint that cut WHS’ deficit to 14-13, but the Eagles went scoreless in the next 3:24 and the Comets scored 10 straight tallies, moving in front, 24-13.
“We just go goofy some times, and we did that twice (Friday), once in the second quarter and then in the last half of the third quarter,” Eagles skipper Masoner said. “We had the game slowed down and had them playing our game, instead of us playing their game.
“But then we got a little lazy with our passes and forced a couple of things.”
Nine different Comets scored, paced by 15 points from Dallen Mercer, 14 from Cable and 11 from Jaz Gayanich, who also had a game-high nine rebounds.
Wilkerson topped the Eagles with 13 points, while Roberts and Garret Bachand each had nine. Wilkerson and Bachand had seven apiece.
Velma-Alma 66, Waurika 35
While the Lady Comets (14-6) were favored, the Lady Eagles (9-12) stayed within striking distance at the outset.
During a three-minute span in the first quarter, Waurika went on a 9-2 run, taking a 6-5 lead on back-to-back buckets by Courtland Henderson and Daley Gay, then opening a 11-7 edge on lay-ups by Staci Brandon and Henderson.
But things quickly changed when Velma-Alma began to find its shooting touch and it’s defense began shaking turnovers out of WHS’ offense.
In the final minute of the initial stanza. Southerland’s trey from the baseline ignited a barrage of 14 straight points that proved decisive. Two backdoor buckets by Kylee Saville nudged the Lady Comets to a 15-11 lead at the first break, and with Waurika committing 15 turnovers in the second quarter, the door was wide open for V-A.
Getting scoring from five different players, the Lady Comets soared to a 34-15 advantage, until Brandon hit a basket to trim the margin to 34-17 at halftime.
Velma-Alma was still on fire after the intermission, immediately scoring 16 uncontested points before a follow-up by Waurika’s Tatum Mora momentarily stopped the bleeding at 50-19. With Saville and Aria Johnson each dropping in nine points, the Lady Comets were up, 60-21, going into the fourth frame.
“Shooting was the big difference; when you shoot well, good things can happen,” V-A coach Jerry Garrett said. “Our guards did a good job of shooting and our defense put a lot of pressure on (Waurika), which generated our offense.”
Shooting 52.2 percent from the field, the Lady Comets got a game-high 22 points from Saville and 19 from Johnson, while Southerland finished with 11.
“That 29 (total) turnovers was the bottom line for us,” Lady Eagles skipper Everett Hodges said. “In the second quarter, Velma’s 2-2-1 press was getting to us and I called a time out and tried to get us to handle it, but we didn’t.
“Velma also shot the ball well and we didn’t (25 percent).”
Gay paced Waurika with 11 points and Brandon had nine, but no other Lady Eagle scored more than four. WHS did have a 35-24 edge in rebounds, as Mora grabbed a game-high 11.
Talk about following the same script.
Demon golfers compete at Lincoln Park
The Duncan boys golfers competed at a tournament at Lincoln Park Golf Course in Oklahoma City Thursday.
Individual scores were Blake Graham with 76 and 79, Logan Harris with 76 and 75, Tyler Albin with 77 and 78, Christian Dructor with 78 and 86, and Carson Hogstad with 80 and 83.
Track teams head to Norman
The Duncan track athletes travel to Norman today for a meet at the University of Oklahoma.
Duncan boys coach Todd Ledford said that the Demons will be one of just three Class 5A teams attending. The rest of the teams are 6A.
Demon baseball beats Plainview in extra innings
The Duncan baseball team had to go extra innings and then hold off a late rally to win at Plainview 3-2 Thursday.
The game was tied 1-1 after seven innings. The Demons broke the tie with two runs in the top of the eighth, but Plainview battled back to make it 3-2 in its half of the inning.
More home tourney action awaits Demons
Another weekend of home matches await the Duncan tennis teams.
The BancFirst Tournament will be at the Duncan High School tennis courts, with the girls playing Friday and the boys Saturday. The tourneys come one week after Duncan hosted the Southern Oklahoma Invitational.
Bulldog pitching staff builds confidence
Heading towards the postseason, Empire is closing in on the possibility of winning record thanks in large part to its improvements on defense.
The Bulldogs (10-11) have cut down the errors from 10 or more a game to two or three a game. Coach Stefan Hunt said that’s led to the pitchers seeing some better results on the mound. Though, the pitchers have improved their game as well.
Demons in close district race
The Duncan baseball team is in a close race to finish in the top four in District 2-5A and earn a trip to regionals.
Duncan is 7-3 in district and in third place. First-place Carl Albert has lost just one district game. The Titans split with second-place Chickasha, which also split with Duncan.
Gayanich to play for Panhandle State
Velma-Alma senior Jaz Gayanich signed Wednesday to play basketball for Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Goodwell.
Gayanich said Panhandle coach Jerry Olsen was upfront about his program and ideas, compared to other coaches Gayanich visited. Gayanich already knows what role he’s expected to play.
Those who knew John Humphrey respected him
Duncan resident Rod Battles got to know John Humphrey pretty well.
Battles first played Duncan High School baseball for Humphrey in 1965. He later returned to DHS, when Humphrey hired him as an assistant, and later head baseball coach. After both men retired, they became fishing buddies. Humphrey joined Battles and others for annual trips to Lake Texhoma.
Comets stay calm under pressure
Lately, Velma-Alma baseball has made a habit of having some exciting finishes.
In its home tournament, the Jake Leffler Wooden Bat Tournament, last weekend, it won four of five games. All of those victories came by less than five runs and two of them were by only one run.
Course challenges Lady Demons
The Duncan girls golf team took sixth at the longest course it has played this year.
KickingBird Golf Course is 5,300 yards. Add the windy conditions at the tournament hosted by Edmond Santa Fe and it made for a challenging day.
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- Demon golfers compete at Lincoln Park