Phoenix staff reports
It had been three years since the Sequoyah boys basketball team had earned a trip to the state tournament but that drought is over.
Overcoming an 18-point deficit in the third quarter, the Indians rallied to tie the game at the end of the fourth quarter then prevailed in overtime to down top-ranked Oklahoma Centennial, the two-time Class 3A defending state champion, 71-67 in the championship game of the Class 3A Area I championship game on Friday in Sand Springs.
“The last time we made it to state, this senior class were freshmen,” said Sequoyah coach Jay Herrin. “They didn’t get to play that year and felt they were missing out on the tradition of not having made it. Now they get to go.”
The Indians, 19-8 and No. 9 in the final Okrankings.com Class 3A poll, had three players in double figures, led by Tyler Jones with 20 points while Ryan Helsley had 19 and Caisen Green finished with 14 points.
“We finally started making plays,” Herrin said about the comeback. “It was almost to the point of pulling the starters to rest them for (Saturday’s) game. With each play, the guys got more confident and we were able to tie the game and won it in overtime.”
The No. 11 Lady Indians (19-8) went through a lengthy first-half scoreless spell and managed just three second-quarter points, trailing 24-9 at the half.
The consequence is a consolation final at 6:30 tonight against Oklahoma Christian for a final shot at the 3A state tourney.
“We were at a size disadvantage and we came out flat,” Sequoyah coach Larry Shade said. “I just kind of look at it two ways. One, we were coming off a big (regional final) win over Henryetta on Monday and we woke up a sleeping giant here in Perkins. Two, we simply didn’t match their intensity and wound up having to play catch-up and we couldn’t score.”
Perkins, ranked No. 2, improved to 26-0.
Loren Young had 11 points, tops for Sequoyah. The closest to her was Audrey Ballou, who was well below her 16-point average with 6 points.
Perkins outscored Sequoyah 17-10 in the third to increase the lead to 41-19.