Sand Springs 63,
The Roughers learned the hard way that if you let an inferior opponent hang around long enough, you can get burned.
Muskogee (10-6) held the lead for most of the game but could never put Sand Springs away, and it came back to bite them, falling in overtime.
With 40.9 seconds left in the fourth quarter, and the Roughers leading 53-48, Ashton Palmer drained a 3-pointer then came back on the Sandites’ next possession with a driving layup to tie the game and send it into regulation.
“We just didn’t make stops down the stretch,” said Muskogee’s David Beasley, whose last-second shot clanged off the rim, thus preventing a second OT. “We had the lead and then got caught up in trying to outscore them.”
Quintahj Cherry opened the extra period by draining a 3 to give the Roughers a 56-53 advantage. But Palmer began to work his magic again and drove in for two of his game-high 25 points to keep it a one-point game.
It stayed a one point Muskogee advantage until Jacob Taber converted two free throws to put the Sandites up 61-60, their first lead of the game. After Beasley made the front end of a one-and-one to tie the game at 61-60 with 16.9 seconds left, Palmer struck again with a jumper in the lane with 6.1 seconds left for the game-winner.
“He’s a good shooter and I knew that coming in,” said Beasley, who played summer ball in Tulsa with Palmer.
Cherry lead the Roughers with 15 points while Tramal Ivy had 14 and Beasley finished with 13. Besides Palmer, Mack Thompson and Josh Lattie had 15 points each for Sand Springs.
Muskogee coach Josh Berry said there was another factor that led to the Roughers’ demise, and it wasn’t the Sandites’ scoring.
“We need to protect the ball better,” he said. “We made way too many turnovers and against any team, that is unacceptable.”
The games were moved up to an afternoon matinee due to travel concerns with the area’s winter weather. The girls tipped off at 3:30 p.m. and the boys at 5 p.m.