JAY - Wagoner came calling at Bulldog Arena Tuesday night, and while the sideline histrionics of last season was absent from the Wagoner girls' bench, much of their talent and experience was gone as well. The Wagoner boys, however, were every bit as good as one might expect, but the J-Dogs stayed close enough to make a legitimate fourth quarter run at their athletic guests.
Early in the ladies' game, Wagoner was able to tie the game at two, but that would be the last time that they would get any where near Jay as Megan Edge and freshman Baylee Tanner tossed in 5 points each, to go with a pair of Laura Whiteley buckets on the way to an 18-point opening period.
Shooting 4-of-12 from the floor, the visitors had to scramble to score nine. The first quarter, though, was just a taste of things to come. In the subsequent frame the home Bulldogs put the game in their proverbial hip pocket.
Coming off of the bench, Kayleigh Haggard took control of the game from the middle. The 5-11 sophomore hauled in eight rebounds and scored eight of her game-high 14 points in the second quarter alone.
While Haggard controlled the paint, Edge threw in a trey and a baseline deuce to go with the first of a pair of Shalesah Myers's 3-pointers. Add to the carnage two more Whiteley field goals with 3-of-4 Tanner free throws and the Jay ladies had hung another 24 points on the scoreboard.
Conversely Wagoner managed only a field goal and a trey by Ulandrea Freeman from the field, to go with 3-of-8 from the stripe for only eight points.
Leading 42-17 to start the second half, the Jay starters made a cursory appearance before giving way to their bench, and the reserves made the most of their playing time. Ninth graders Chloe Price and Madison Wilson scored four points each, in addition to another three by Myers to account for most of Jay's 15 third quarter points.
The visitors had another 8-point frame to fall behind by 32. Haggard closed out the contest with three more boards and six more points to finish the night with a double-double.
Tanner ended the night with a dozen points and eight rebounds. As a team, the Jay girls remarkably only turned the ball over three times during the first three quarters of play.
It didn't take long for the Wagoner ‘Dogs to reveal their game plan. It was clear that they weren't afraid to shoot from anywhere and that they would do it often. Throwing up 16 attempts from beyond the arc, Wagoner connected on four that accounted for the majority of their 18 points in the opening eight minutes.
Despite turning the ball over five times as a team in the first, the J-Dogs got a five-point effort from Jared Sloan and four from Stephen Tanner for the bulk of their 16-point period.
With the visitors on top by a pair both squads went to a more deliberate offensive scheme in the second. Wagoner still managed to put up 13 shots from the field and cashed in on four of them. Taking much better care of the basketball, Jay's Devon Goddard stroked a pair of three pointers and Checotah Gordon knocked down a pair of buckets for all of their team's second stanza scoring.
Down 32-26 to start the second half, Jay suffered through a 2-of-17 effort from the field and got a little bit beat up on the offensive boards. By the end of the third, the hometown ‘Dogs had scored only seven.
Wagoner senior forward Justin Ferrell and senior guard Kevin Peterson anchored their team's third period scoring with three buckets each, to go into the final eight minutes with a 45-33 lead. But the J-Dogs were far from finished. Jay's defense was able to make their guests miss on their opening seven floor attempts.
With every subsequent possession, Jay's offense began to slowly chip away at the 12 point lead. Gordon connected on a 3-pointer, while Jordan Sweeney and Sloan added a bucket each. With just under three minutes to play, Tyler Buzzard's put back finished off Jay's 10-0 run that saw them pull within two, 45-43.
But the home teams' fortunes went south from there. After not turning the ball over for most of the fourth, Jay allowed Wagoner's Decarius Clark to steal the ball and score. Another turnover on Jay's next possession resulted in another Wagoner basket. And those turnovers fueled the visitor's 12-3 run to the finish line and their 57-46 victory.