SALINA, OK —
Salina senior guard Cale Backward didn't have a point to his name heading into the fourth quarter Friday at home against Nowata.
That didn't seem to faze him too much.
Backward scored 12 points in the fourth quarter and overtime to help the Wildcats bounce the Ironmen, 66-62, on homecoming night.
"Our experience really came through tonight," Backward said. "Last year we'd have found a way to lose that game. Now, we're used to being in close games and we can find ways to win."
Salina (7-5) trailed for three full quarters before Backward hit a pair of technical free throws and a layup on the ensuing possession to tie the contest at 44. After a Nowata bucket, a Tyler Underwood and-one gave Salina its first lead since 3-2.
The teams played in a three-point window the rest of regulation, until Nowata's Matt Price nailed a trey with 8.9 seconds left to tie the game at 56.
In the extra session, Salina never trailed, and Coby Backward, Mark Cowan and Cale Backward all drained important free throws to help hold off the Ironmen.
Up 65-62, Cale Backward missed his second of a pair of free throws but got his own rebound with 5.3 seconds on the clock to ice the win.
"It was great to play for a packed house," Cale Backward said. "I hope more people start showing up."
Cowan led all scorers with 20 points. Underwood added 13 and Coby Backward scored 10. Colton Burgess racked up 13 rebounds and seven points.
Nowata was led by Tyler Brock's 18 points. Price chipped in 17.
Lady Wildcats cruise
SALINA — Thanks to a 14-point third quarter from sophomore Courtney Condit, Salina ripped visiting Nowata, 64-39, on homecoming night Friday.
Despite some fashionable hair-dos from the homecoming court, Salina (5-7) and Nowata started sloppy on the basketball court, combining for 14 turnovers in the first quarter.
Salina began to pull away in the second, bulging its thin margin to 25-12 at halftime. In the third, Condit scored the Lady Wildcats' first 14 points to put the Lady Ironmen away for good.
Condit was the only player in double figures, with 18. Morgan Littlefield scored all of her eight points in the first quarter, and Sydney Sanders also poured in eight off the bench.
Salina's defense was suffocating through the first three quarters, allowing just 17 points. At one point, Nowata had 24 points and 24 turnovers. No Lady Ironman scored more than six points.
Salina will hit the road for a Tuesday doubleheader at Kansas before heading north to the NEO A&M Tournament Thursday through Saturday.