JAY ‹ Miami coach Rusty Mercer had predicted that his Wardogs and Jay would play "yukky" basketball at times during Tuesday night’s battle here.
He was right.
But at other times, MHS looked quite impressive during a 60-45 Verdigris Valley Conference victory.
The Wardogs shot 58 percent from the field, nailing 21 of 36 field goal attempts – including 19 of 28 chances from inside the arc ‹ but turned the ball over 21 times.
"It would be pretty scary if we were at midseason form," Mercer said. "I didn’t think it would be that way. I thought both teams would make the other play yukky and that’s kinda what happened at times."
The Wardogs went into the half with a six-point cushion, 25-19.
But an 11-0 run to start the third quarter broke the game open for Miami.
Kade Pogue and Tony Rodriguez buried 3-point goals to ignite the run, which ballooned the score to 36-19.
"That was huge," Mercer said. "We fought like crazy to get that six-point lead at half. We always stress the first four minutes of the game, the first four minutes of the third quarter and the last four minutes of the game. That run really knocked them down. Before you knew it, we were up 20 or 21. We probably got a little conservative, trying to run the clock, but at times I thought we were a little too quick with that big of a lead."
A bucket from inside by Brandon Edge at 4:01 gave the Bulldogs their first
points of the quarter.
"I was disappointed with the way we came out at halftime," Jay coach Carl Scott said. "We didn’t respond. That is something we have to learn. We will. We have some kids who are doing some good things. But we’ve got to do those good things all the time and not just part of the time."
MHS was up by 15 heading into the final stanza (46-31), when Jay used a 7-2 burst to pull to within 12 midway through the period.
The Wardogs converted on eight of 10 free throws down the stretch to ice the victory.
"It was a free-for-all in that fourth quarter," Mercer said. "It got pretty loosey-goosey and got pretty physical. I was really pleased to come out of here with a win."
Miami had three players score in double figures, topped by Casey Hunter with 15 points. Keaton Blevins and Pogue each finished with 13.
Rodriguez netted eight points and hauled down a team-best 13 rebounds. He also doled out four assists.
"As undersized as we were, I was very pleased with our effort," Mercer said. "A lot of those turnovers were in the fourth quarter. We will get that corrected. Our guys will handle the pressure better."
Senior Parker Warner had 13 points for the Bulldogs, who also picked up 11 from Tyler Buzzard.
Jay travels to Vinita on Friday. Miami is idle until Tuesday, when it begins play in a tournament at Sperry.