By Ronn Rowland
Phoenix staff, wire report
STILLWATER — Not enough and too late.
After struggling offensively most of the night, Muskogee put 27 fourth-quarter points on the board in the fourth period to cut a 32-22 deficit to what became a 51-49 setback in the first round of the Class 6A East Regional — and final game for the Roughers.
Union led 12-4 after one quarter and 24-13 at half. The Roughers whittled a point off that deficit in the third and then started an offensive track meet in the fourth.
However, the Roughers, finishing a half-game off last year’s 8-15 mark at 8-16 with their seventh consecutive loss, couldn’t get the timely stops on defense and the closest they could manage to cut Union’s lead down to was four points — until a layup in the final seconds to make the final deficit of two for Muskogee.
“It started the first half, where there were plays where we had layups, fastbreaks and wide open shots. Those are the shots we’ve got to be able to make and that’s what we need to focus on this summer,” said Roughers coach Josh Berry. “But during that rally, we had a few layups that we let go and they got them. That’s what really couldn’t get us over that hump.”
Anthony King, who led all scorers with 25 points, had 10 in the fourth as did David Beasley, who was held to two points in the first three quarters. Tramal Ivy had six. Between Muskogee’s top scorers all season was 43 points. All three will return for their third season as starters next fall.
“King finally got to being a little more aggressive,” Berry said. “He’s a great scorer, he’s a great player and a lot of people around the state don’t really know about him — but he’s going to be something to watch along with the rest of the group that we have. But he just kind of got going and put us on his back and made a lot of plays in that second half.”
Shawn Olden had 12 points and John Palmer 11 for Union, which moves into tonight’s regional final. Jeff Mead, who led the Redskins (16 points, 11 rebounds) in a 58-39 win at Union last Friday, had 8 points.
“I’m looking forward to the future, and I think it’s going to be a very bright one,” Berry said.