Union 58, MHS 39
The Roughers had a mulligan to use, sort of. They will face this same Union team in a game that counts far more than this one did next Friday at Stillwater in the first round of regionals.
Lose that one, and the season’s over. Another cold spell like the one they had here Friday, and it will most assuredly be, a half-game worse than last year’s 8-15 finish they matched Friday in finishing 4-10 in Frontier Conference play.
No. 12 Union will take a sweep of the home-and-home series and a 14-9 mark to Friday’s neutral site, having finished 9-5 in the conference.
Muskogee charged back from a 12-6 deficit to take the lead at 17-14, Lavare Reed’s basket giving the Roughers that margin with 6:27 until halftime. They held the lead until Josh Davis made it a 21-20 game, connecting on a jumper at the 2:55 mark.
Then, Muskogee would go scoreless for the final 4 1/2 minutes, not connecting again until David Beasley’s jumper from inside the free-throw circle with 2:40 left in the third, making it a 34-22 contest – a scoreless span of just shy of 10 minutes.
“That hurt,” said Muskogee coach Josh Berry.
Turnovers – 12 in all – were the main culprit.
The Roughers hit just two fourth-quarter field goals, one each by Anthony King and Quintahj Cherry. The deficit hit 20, 52-32, with 2:32 to play, and topped out at 21 moments later.
Jeff Mead, a stocky 6-7 forward, led Union with 16 points and 11 rebounds. David Beasley had 13 points, seven in the first quarter, for Muskogee. Tramal Ivy had 11 points and six rebounds, tops for his squad.
“We can’t turn the ball over like we did,” Ivy said. “More than anything offensively that’s it.”
Union held a 26-16 edge in rebounding.
“They’re real big, real strong, and kind of push their way around,” Berry added. “We’re going to have to have the mindset that we’re not going to get the calls against that and just get tough with them.
“Defensively we just need to rotate better and again, match their toughness and approach it like if we’re not scoring, then let’s not let them score.”
Next Friday’s contest follows the girls’ game which tips at 6:30 p.m.