Marlow trophy shot

The Outlaws completed their mission of winning the county tournament for a third year in a row after playing in a classic game at Velma-Alma to win 58-55 in overtime.

Two teams in the top 10 of their respective classifications engaged in a classic battle that saw the Outlaws earn a three-peat for the Stephens County Tournament in a 58-55 win over Velma-Alma.

It was the No. 1 team in the bracket versus the No. 2 team in the bracket. The hosting Comets got off to a fast start with a three from Cam Wiggins and a two-point bucket from Jackson Lohrer.

Parker Boyles, one of the All-Tournament sections, got the second bucket for the Outlaws. Mason Holding then managed to cut the lead to one point.

Wiggins, an All-Tournament selection, hit a two bucket before another All-Tournament selection in Blayd Harris hit a three to tie the ball game up at 7-7.

Tournament MVP Avrey Payne hit two free throws to take the Outlaws’ first lead of the game before Boyles hit a bucket to make it a four-point game.

Harris hit a second three as the Outlaws took the 14-10 lead going into the second quarter of action, which saw a pretty equal quarter for both teams.

Payne hit a three to put the lead back to five points when Velma-Alma came with two three-point shots of its own as Wiggins and Lohrer fought to keep the Comets in the game.

As the Outlaws had the 26-20 lead at halftime, Velma-Alma made sure to match the Outlaws’ offensive output in the third quarter. Both teams had 48 points between them in the third stanza.

One of the all-tournament selections in Crue Garrett had one of his best showings in the third as one of his buckets tied the game at 30-30.

A technical foul was called on Marlow Head Coach Kirk Harris as Garrett knocked down both free throws to take the 32-30 lead. Alex Wilkerson then hit a bucket to lead by four points.

Payne also had a big quarter for the Outlaws. He hit two free throws and three buckets to help Marlow take the lead back at 49-45 heading to the fourth quarter.

Kaden Harris gave the Outlaws the six point lead, however a three-point shot from Garrett for the Comets put the game within reach.

Still, the Outlaws got one final free throw from Payne before Velma-Alma took over.

Langsten Walker and Garrett got to the line as the game was on the line where they hit all four free throw attempts to tie the game up and send it to overtime with the game knotted at 52-52.

In overtime, the Outlaws had Blayd Harris and Parker Boyles hit one free throw apiece and a bucket apiece to grab the lead for good and give the Outlaws the victory.

Garrett hit one last three to cut the game to the final outcome of 58-55 and put Marlow with their third County Tournament Championship in a row.

Blayd Harris led the way with 18 while Payne had 15 and Boyles had 11 as the All-Tournament selections for the Outlaws.

Garrett had 16 while Wiggins had 12 and the other All-Tournament selection for the Outlaws, six-man award winner Jake Sullivan, helped Velma-Alma off the bench in clutch spots.

The Outlaws’ head coach in Harris was vocal about how Velma-Alma always gives his team a challenge and gave all the credit to Coach Kenny Bare who had his team ready for battle.

“We are excited to win and having to play on their home floor made it more difficult. Their crowd got into it. Their kids fought really hard and played extremely well,” Harris said. “We had some opportunities to put them away in regulation and in overtime, but we didn’t do a very good job finishing the game. A lot of that goes to the credit to them. They played well, shot well and it was a back-and-forth game. Anytime you play Kenny (Bare), he is going to come up with a game plan and we try to take advantage with it being a great game for the fans.”

The Outlaws will have a tough week right out of the county tournament victory as they face Lexington and Lindsay.

Harris believes this tough competition will help them meet their end goal.

“Right now, we are looking at trying to stay where we are in the rankings. Next week is the last week they will do it and Tuesday and Friday will be big if we want to stay in the top 8,” Harris said. “We just are ready to stay healthy and see what happens next week.”

The first game for the Outlaws this week will take place at 8 p.m. Jan. 24 at Lexington while Velma-Alma will travel to Alex for their game at 8 p.m. Jan. 24 on the road at Alex.

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