David Reeder

Special to the Grove Sun

JAY - With the cream of the tournament’s field finally rising to the top, the 13th Annual Grand Savings Bank Tri-State Classic concluded at Bulldog Arena Monday night. And at the end of the evening Kansas and Jay emerged with split results for both. In the first game of the evening’s slate, Tahlequah Sequoyah’s Lady Indians had a big enough first half offense to overcome a lackluster second, knocking off McDonald County 53-39 for the third place trophy. The second match of the night featured the Kansas Comets and McDonald County, dueling for third place in the boys’ division. Struggling from the floor, it took almost five of the game’s opening eight minutes before the Comets got a bucket from the floor. But riding five of Tyler Lankston’s game high 17 points, that included a two-point buzzer beater, the Comets jumped to a 10-4 lead to start the second. Committing eight turnovers, Kansas allowed the Mustangs back into the thick of things, when on the strength of five points each by Kyle Smith and Jordan Wells, McDonald County took the lead 13-12, with 5:04 to play in the half. But following a timeout, Comet Zac Carnes buried a pair of treys, to go with Brett Odle’s three-pointer, going into the break on top 20-18. It was a good news/ bad news scenario for Kansas following the intermission. The good news was that they held the Mustangs to only 11 points. The bad news was that the Comets got only eight of their own, to go into the game’s final leg trailing 29-28. But, spearheaded by nine more Lankston tallies and a half dozen from Cole Kendrick, Kansas saved their best quarter of the game for the last. Following a timeout with under three minutes to play, the Comets went on a 10-2 run to finish off the game and the Mustangs by a 45-42 final score. The first of the evening’s marquee matches had the Jay Lady Bulldogs facing off with cross county rival Kansas in their third meeting of the season. Both squads got off to a rocky start, combining for 15 opening quarter turnovers. Megan Ritter scored the game’s first points with a three-pointer. Missing on their first nine shots from the floor, the Lady Comets did most of their first quarter scoring from the free throw line, shooting an anemic 5 of 10 from the stripe. But with under a minute to play in the period, Taylor Proctor threw in a trey of her own, giving Kansas an 8-7 lead to start the second. With the start of the subsequent stanza, the Lady Bulldogs retook the lead on a Ritter bucket. And the Jay girls would never relinquish it. Thanks to four of Lauren Wilson’s six three-pointers on the night, the home team rolled to a 19 point second. Kansas answered with a Courtney Cowan deuce and a trey, a Haley Blackwood field goal and an 0 for 4 effort from the foul line, to fall behind by 13 at the half. Following the break, the Lady Comets shot 2 of 17 from the field for nine points in the third. The Lady Bulldog offense managed just seven points in the third, to go into the fourth on top 35-24. Trailing by double digits to start the fourth, Kansas further aggravated their misery when Kelsey Barnwell hit the deck with a thump that reverberated throughout Bulldog Arena. And as a result, the junior playmaker didn’t return to the floor for the rest of the game. With their defense causing seven more Comet turnovers and their offense triggered by seven more from Wilson, the teams played to a 13-13 draw in the fourth, giving the Lady Bulldogs the championship by a convincing 48-37 final score. In post-game ceremonies, Lauren Wilson was named the tournament’s MVP. The second of the evening’s main events featured the Jay Bulldogs and Tahlequah-Sequoyah in a rough and tumble title game that saw a player from each squad helped from the court and transported to the hospital. Anchored by Kyle Shambaugh’s six rebounds, a blocked shot and a steal, six Bulldogs teamed up to hang a baker’s dozen on the scoreboard in the first frame. All five Sequoyah starters combined forces to score 10. In the subsequent stanza, Jay shot 5 of 15 from the field and turned the ball over five more times, to score only 11. And with Nick Wacoche putting in eight, in addition to five and four points from Steve Polk and Geoff Little, respectively, the Indians appeared to be on the brink of running away with things by putting in 21 points in the second. But on the strength of eight more of Shambaugh’s game high 23 points and five more boards, along with five points from Josh Ramsey, the ‘Dogs kept things within reason, with a quarter left to play. Along the way, Jay’s Chucky Larrabee went to the floor with a laceration requiring a trip to the hospital for stitches. Down by 17 to start the fourth, the Bulldogs refused to go down without a fight. And charged by seven more Shambaugh points and another half dozen boards, on the way to the evening’s only double double, Jay pulled within four with 3:00 remaining in the game. But for the rest of period, the Indians were able to match the ‘Dogs virtually basket for basket, to hang on for the tournament title, 63-57.   Tahlequah Sequoyah 53, McDonald County 39 (Girls 3rd Place) 1st           2nd          3rd          4th         Final MHS       10           8             10           11           39 SHS        20           15           9             9             53   MHS: Reece 19, Parsons 12, Dill 2, Hinojosa 2, Pratt 2, Stancell 2 SHS: Jones 19, Smith 16, Comingdeer 11, Leach 4, Pacheco 2, Tiger 1   Kansas 45, McDonald 42 (Boys 3rd Place) 1st           2nd          3rd          4th         Final KHS       10           10           8             17           45 MHS       4             14           11           13           42   KHS: Lankston 17, Carnes 9, C. Kendrick 6, Odle 5, Duncan 3, Fausett 3, Lamont 2 MHS: Bridenstine 10, Morales 10, Smith 7, Wells 7, Buttram 4, Jones 2, Wilson 2   Jay 48, Kansas 37 (Girls Championship)  1st           2nd          3rd          4th         Final KHS         8             7             9             13           37 JHS         7             21           7             13           48   KHS: Barnwell 13, Cowan 7, Proctor 6, Helton 3, Sizer 3, Blackwood 2, Nipps 1, Perez 1, Warren 1 JHS: Wilson 19, Kirby 12, Ritter 9, Budder 4, Whitely 2, Sherwood 2   Tahlequah-Sequoyah 63, Jay 57 (Boys Championship) 1st           2nd          3rd          4th         Final SHS        10           21           21           11           63 JHS         13           11           15           18           57