GROVE - It had been less than a week since Jay and Grove squared off against each other with the intensity of long time rivals. And in a makeup game Saturday night, at Ridgerunner Field House, they were at it again. Only this time, it took a couple of quarters for the Grove girls to recapture that intensity and the Grove boys really never did.
In the opening tilt, thanks to a 1 of 14 Lady Red field shooting performance and a half dozen turnovers, Jay jumped all over their hostesses. The Lady Bulldogs, paced by 5 Lauren Wilson points and 4 from Ashley Shrum held Grove to a single free throw and a lone Kenzie Miller bucket at the 4 second mark of the 1st quarter. In the 2nd, Jay struggled from the field, shooting 2 of 15 and turning the ball over 6 times. But the Lady Bulldogs shot 8 of 9 from the free throw line and beat the Lady Ridgerunners 13-5 on the boards, to score 13. Grove’s Margaret Pogue helped to shake her squad out of their offensive doldrums with 8 of her game high 20, to move within 5 at the half.
Following the break the Lady Red appeared to have located the intensity that they had previously misplaced. Pogue continued to tear up the middle scoring 9 more to go with 6 by Peri Lane for the lion’s share of their best offensive quarter of the night. Jay got 5 more from Wilson and 4 by Sam Robertson in route to a 14 point 3rd and a slim 38-36 lead going into the 4th. But the 4th frame and ultimately the contest belonged to Grove. At the 6:40 mark of the period, the Lady Ridgernners were able to capture the lead for the 1st time, 41-39. Jay was unable to hit a shot from the field until Robertson’s deuce with a 1:16 to play gave the Lady Bulldogs at 44-43 lead. But Grove tied things up at 44 with a free throw. And with 15 seconds to play, as Jay brought the ball down in an attempt to regain the lead, Grove’s Kenzie Miller stole the ball at mid court and raced to the paint for the go ahead lay up. The Lady ‘Dogs never scored again as the Lady Red added 4 more for the come from behind 50-44 conference win.
Just as in the previous lady’s game, Jay jumped to a quick lead over the home team. Chance Tuder, the Bulldog’s big man in the middle, took over things early by hauling in 3 of his 8 boards in the game as well as putting in 7 of his game high 13 points in the 1st. Shooting 2 of 12 from the floor, the Ridgerunners got only a Trent Winters trey and a Tyler Spychalski field goal, along with only 1 of 6 free throws for 7 points. Despite enduring a string of 8 consecutive missed shots from the field, the Bulldogs got 4 each from Tuder and Mitch Goins on their way to another 12 point period. While getting beat on the boards 10-5, the Grove offense could only manage 3 second stanza points thanks to Josh Harjo.
Leading by 14, to start the 2nd half, Jay turned the ball over 8 times in the 3rd quarter. But the Ridgerunners were unable to cash in on the visitor’s miscues, failing to convert on a single field goal until the midway point of the period. Jesse Scott and Seth Hudson scored 3 each for most of the Bulldog’s 3rd quarter 10, while Grove scored only 8 points to fall behind even farther. In the 4th, Chase Hilton and Jack Johnson, with 4 each, led the Ridgerunner for their best offensive quarter. But Grove’s 17 final frame points was too little too late, as Jay put in 3 of 8 from the field and 12 of 16 free throws to hold off any kind of Ridgerunner comeback.
Both Jay and Grove advance to the postseason with district games to be played this Friday. Jay travels to Locust Grove and Grove goes to Sequoyah-Claremore, with the ladys’ games to played at 6:30 and the boys’ at 8:00.