LOCUST GROVE, OK —
Class 4A No. 13 Locust Grove pulled off its second come-from-behind win and overcame a near upset from rival Salina Thursday night at Pirate Arena. The Wildcats fell 51-39 in a game which was much closer than the score shows.
Salina shot out of the gates and ended the first period with an 11-9 lead thanks to solid play from senior forward Colton Burgess. Burgess racked up seven points after one period and ended the night with 11 points and nine rebounds.
The Pirates took over in the second period, outscoring Salina 16-10. LG sophomore Mason Fine started the period with back-to-back 3s, which gave the Pirates their first lead since a 1-0 advantage in the game's early moments. The teams went into the locker room with a 25-21 score in Locust Grove’s favor.
The Pirates maintained their lead for the rest of the game, but things became heated as the third period ended. After a few controversial calls, LG sophomore Zach Robinson was called for a foul that Pirate fans strongly disagreed with.
After the dispute was settled, Salina senior Mark Cowan drained a half-court shot with 0.3 seconds left in the quarter. The referees originally ruled the shot no good, but after a discussion overturned the call. During the mix-up Robinson received a technical foul. Salina senior Cale Backward nailed both free throws, and the Wildcats had managed to score five points and cut the deficit to 36-33 within one second.
Locust opened the fourth quarter with a 10-1 run, which put the Pirates ahead 46-34 with less than two minutes remaining and closed out the win.
“I think they (Salina) are a lot better this year, I really do,” Locust Grove head coach Ronnie Maple said. "They have a couple of really good players. I thought their post kids played really well tonight, we just kept shooting ourselves in the foot. We’d be going around and just do something silly. We just have to keep plugging away and keep working, and it will all work out in the end, just keep getting better."
The hoops edition Battle of Highway 82 included a match-up between two of Mayes County’s top quarterbacks. Fine had the upper hand on the field and continued his reign of Highway 82 on the court, scoring 15 points to Backward's 11.
Locust Grove junior Tyler Rowland led all scorers with 17 and sophomore Jason Pirtle pulled off a double-double with an 11-point, 10-rebound performance. Backward and Burgess both led the Wildcats in scoring with 11. Cowan added seven points.
Lady Pirates squash Salina
LOCUST GROVE — After beginning the season with two nail-biters, the Lady Pirates cruised pass Salina 66-43 to improve to 3-0 Thursday.
“It felt good to score. I think there are still some things we need to improve on, turnovers for one, we’re still turning the ball over way too much, but it was good not to have to worry about making free throws to finish the game,” LG head coach Justin Brown said.
LG junior Kennedy Sokoloski led her team with 19 points, most of which came in the first half (17). Sophomore Karson Maple scored 10 and senior Sydnie Pierce scored nine for the third straight game. Salina forward Courtney Condit led all scorers with 21 and Cassi Barry put up 11 of her own.