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.
Glenna L. Gray
Glenna L. Gray, 67 of Oklahoma City a former long time Duncan resident passed away Friday, April 11, 2014, at her home in Oklahoma City.
Kelly headed to Southeastern
Duncan senior Connor Kelly signed Monday to play football for Southeastern Oklahoma University.
Kelly, who played quarterback and defensive back for the Demons, considered several options before joining his father Kevin’s alma mater. Connor Kelly is also a standout wrestler and hurdler for the Demons.
Demon home game becomes road doubleheader
The Duncan baseball team will head to Del City for a doubleheader Tuesday after its scheduled home Monday game was postponed.
Demon coach Tim Hightower said Del City had some transportation issues that kept the Eagles from making it to Duncan. Snow in Del City delayed school buses and one would not have been available to bring the players to Duncan until between 4:30 and 5 p.m. That would mean delaying the start time of Monday’s game until later in the evening, when it would have been cold.
Phillips’ pitching gives CHS hope in loss
In a 4-0 loss Saturday, No. 11 Central High stood toe to toe with No. 4 Sterling in the Jake Leffler Wooden Bat Tournament final.
Sophomore Cooper Phillips pitched a complete game for the Bronchos (16-7), allowing just one earned run, five hits and no walks. Coach Jeff Jones said with the team’s usual production, the Bronchos could have won the game.
Weather makes things tough at state preview
Cold, windy conditions greeted players at the Class 5A state girls golf preview tournament at Duncan Golf and Tennis Club Monday.
Duncan girls golf coach Steve Etheridge described the conditions as miserable. The golfers who came to experience the course that will be the site of the Class 5A state tournament didn’t have good scores because of the weather.
Demon track athletes get extra time to prepare for OU meet
The Duncan track teams will not attend a scheduled meet Tuesday, to give them a couple extra days to prepare for a meet Friday at the University of Oklahoma.
The Demons were to attend a meet at Oklahoma Baptist University, but testing at Duncan schools and other issues meant that not all the athletes would have been able to attend. Coach Todd Ledford said other factors were the weather and, if Duncan attended, it would have meant three meets in a seven-day span.
Bubba Watson wins Masters for second time
Bubba Watson has won the Masters for the second time in three years.
Watson claimed another green jacket by shooting a 3-under 69 in the final round Sunday, fending off Jordan Spieth’s bid to become the youngest major champion since 1931.
Comets find a way to win
Just a few minutes after Velma-Alma junior Ty Richardson was hit by a pitch from Lindsey’s relief pitcher, Alec Richardson followed in his cousin’s footsteps to win third place in the Jake Leffler Wooden Bat Tournament Saturday.
It was a walk-off hit by pitch and the Comets (8-12) had pulled out the 5-4 win. Alec Richardson said that it was the best he’d ever felt when getting hit by the ball. The Comets had scored a run without getting the ball out of the infield to win the game in the bottom of the seventh inning. Coach Colt Allison was happy with his players’ patience at the plate.
Demons dominate SOI tennis field
The Duncan tennis teams took care of business at the Southern Oklahoma Invitational tournament last Friday.
The boys won their 29th straight tournament and the girls won their 11th. It’s tradition the Demon tennis players knew they had to live up to.
Boys soccer drops close game to Mac
The Duncan boys soccer team lost a heartbreaker at Lawton MacArthur 2-1.
The game was tied 1-1, then Lawton Mac scored the winning goal with four minutes left.
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- Glenna L. Gray