TAHLEQUAH — Sequoyah takes pride in its full court pressing defense and it showed Monday night.
The Indians, No. 9 in the Okrankings.com Class 3A poll, forced 24 turnovers in limiting the Lincoln Christian Bulldogs 57-35 at the Sequoyah Center.
“We have about four presses that we run and we morph into what the other team’s doing in trying to break our press and we’ll adapt to it,” coach Jay Herrin said. “We made adjustments against their break at halftime and were pretty effective with it.”
Junior Caisen Green, who led the Indians with 15 points, said the pressing defense is effective because not many teams run it.
“Ever since I’ve known about Sequoyah basketball, it’s all they did,” the 6-foot-2 junior said. “It works for us because we have more possessions on offense for us and causes more turnovers.”
The Indians, who improve to 14-6 for the season, also had 19 steals.
T.J. Jones, also a 6-2 senior, had three of the steals and added 10 points for Herrin’s squad.
On the other end of the floor, Lincoln Christian (10-11) couldn’t score any more than 10 points per quarter against the Indians.
Sequoyah led 23-18 at halftime, but blew the game open in the third period as it outscored Lincoln Christian 20-9 for a 43-27 advantage.
Austin Jones was the only Bulldog in double figures with 18 points. He also had nine rebounds.
Both the Indians and Lady Indians are back in action at home on Thursday against Henryetta. The date of the game was changed because Sequoyah’s hosting a wrestling tournament.
Sequoyah 49, Lincoln Christian 47
Audrey Ballou wasn’t exactly happy with performance.
“I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn but when (teammate) Courtney Jones penetrated, that left me open,” she said. “I didn’t think I did very well. I could’ve done a lot better.”
Regardless of what the 5-9 junior thinks, she played well enough with a game-high 16 points to lead the Lady Indians. She made 8 of 18 shots from the field for the game, including 3 of 7 in the fourth quarter.
Ballou sank two baskets in the final three minutes, the latter increased Sequoyah’s lead to 48-42 with 1:25 left in the game.
Larry Shade, now the Sequoyah coach after Ron Cox resigned in early January, was praising Ballou’s effort as the No. 10 Lady Indians improved to 14-6.
“Thank God for Audrey Ballou,” he said. “When she steps up, she’s a difference maker in the game.”
Shade said Cox, picked to replace Larry Grigg after Grigg was dismissed from the school, resigned for “health reasons” after the Jan. 5 game against Cascia Hall.
Ballou also had five rebounds and five blocked shots. Loren Young added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Lady Indians.
Shanna Vogt led Lincoln Christian (14-7) with 15 points in making 3 of 5 shots from 3-point range and Shelby Brown had 14 points and four rebounds.
The Lady Indians also played well defensively, forcing 22 turnovers. Sequoyah had 10.