LOCUST GROVE — Lightning can, indeed, strike twice.
For the second time in five nights, Locust Grove hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to win a high school boys basketball game at home.
Monday night, it was Cale Fine delivering the knockout punch.
Friday night, it was David Stone’s turn.
He took a pass at the top of the circle, jumped up and launched a 20-footer that was right on the mark.
When it had settled into the net, with the sound of the buzzer being drowned out by the Pirate Dome crowd, Stone was an instant hero, joining Cale Fine at the top of a short and elite list.
With his fifth trey of the game, Stone had beaten Jay, 61-58, for the Class 4A district championship.
Jay had just tied the game 15 seconds earlier off a Locust Grove miscue.
Trailing by two, Jay missed a shot and Reed Bryant rebounded for the Pirates. But instantly, Devon Goddard stole the ball and scored, tying the game at 58 with 15 seconds remaining.
The clock never stopped. Neither team called time.
The Pirates went after the win, just as they did on Monday night when Fine hit a 30-footer to beat the buzzer and Vinita.
This time, it was Stone.
And just like Fine against Vinita, he was perfect.
For Locust Grove, it marked the third win of the season over the Bulldogs. At Jay, in their first meeting, Robert Shelly scored with eight seconds remaining to give the Pirates a 68-67 decision. At Locust Grove, in the regular-season matchup, the Pirates prevailed, 68-60.
Friday night’s game was the first step on the road to March Madness, and the 15th-ranked Pirates are hoping for a return to the state tournament. Last year, they made their first-ever state appearance.
For the Pirates to pull this one out, it took some timely free-throw shooting — in addition to Stone’s deft touch.
Jay outscored the Pirates from the field, 53-40. The Pirates, however, more than made up for that deficiency by sinking 21-of-29 free throws.
The Pirates hit on eight three-pointers. Three of those came in the first period as they bolted out to a 12-point lead and an 18-8 advantage at the break.
In the second quarter, the Pirates saw their lead dwindle in the face of a Bulldog attack. Six Jay players scored in the period and narrowed the gap to 28-24 at halftime.
Jay junior Stephen Tanner took matters into his own hands in the third quarter, scoring nine of his 19 points. Jay forged its only lead of the game in that period before the Pirates regrouped and squeaked out a 42-38 lead going into the fourth.
The Bulldogs hit 9-of-11 field-goal attempts in the final period, but never went in front. The Pirates were hitting 9-of-11 free throws and Stone was limbering up for his last-second heroics.
Twice Jay pulled within one and Tanner’s traditional three-point play tied the score at 49 with 4:39 remaining.
Bryant retaliated for the Pirates, with a basket and a pair of free throws for a 53-49 advantage at 2:07.
Justin Bailey spread the margin to 57-52 with a baseline runner at 1:23.
But even with that, the Bulldogs did not shrink. Shai Jones scored and Jarod Sloan followed with a quick steal and layup to pull within one with 45 seconds remaining.
Fine converted a pair of free throws only to see Goddard tie things up.
And when Locust Grove had the last possession of the game, Stone knew exactly what to do. He followed Fine’s script from Monday night.
Locust Grove will take an 18-5 record into the regionals Thursday at Inola. Jay is 12-11 and will advance into the losers bracket. ...
Jay hit 25-of-50 from the field, but only 3-of-8 from 3-point range and 5-of-9 free throws. Locust Grove did not fare well from the field. The Pirates were 16-of-45 — 35 percent — and 8-of-23 from 3-point range. The difference came at the free throw line. ...
Jay won the rebounding battle, 30-27. Fine and Bryant collected seven apiece. So did Tyler Buzzard and Taylor Foster of Jay. ... Tanner scored 17 points in the second half. For the game, he hit 8-of-10 field goals. ...
Stone made 5-of-11 treys. The Pirates’ starters accounted for all the Locust Grove points.
Stone’s shot turns back Jay, 61-58
LOCUST GROVE — Lightning can, indeed, strike twice.
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