Guy Ellis

The Grove Lady Ridgerunners basketball team won round two of the NEO Tournament Girls Gold round robin bracket Friday over the Roland Lady Rangers in a 67-63 overtime shootout at the NEO Fieldhouse.

The win moves Grove (7-4) to 2-0 in bracket play with Roland (11-4, 4A #9) and Guthrie (4-11) at 1-1. The Lady Red play Miami (3-9), 0-2 in the bracket, at the Civic Center today (Saturday) to conclude their tournament. Roland and Guthrie square off later in the afternoon.

The math says that Grove is the bracket winner no matter Saturday’s outcome but Lady Red Head Coach Richard Bassett was hearing none of that after the game.

“We’ve got to beat Miami tomorrow,” Bassett said. “We can’t go up against them thinking that we’ve got it. That’s what I’ve told the girls. I don’t want to say we’ve won anything yet. If we can go take care of business tomorrow and do what we’re supposed to do then we’ll win our bracket. We need to beat Miami.”

The Lady Ridgerunners defeated Miami earlier this month in Grove by a score of 40-28 in Verdigris Valley Conference play.

Friday’s win was a big one for the Grove team. Besides knocking off a 4A top-10 team the victory served as a vengeance for the Championship Game of the Tahlequah tournament earlier in the season where Roland defeated the Lady Red.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of our girls,” said Bassett. “They have come so far, so fast. They believe in themselves and now they have a little bit of success.

“We talk about a four letter word called work,” Bassett continued. “You have to do it; you have to spend time and work. They’re starting to buy into it and you can see it carry over onto the floor. They don’t worry about little things anymore; they just do their job and take care of what they are supposed to. You can see how big a difference it’s made.”

Senior Margaret Pogue led the GHS scorers with 18, including a four of four performance at the free throw line. Junior Logan Cook netted 16 points with a trio of treys in the mix. Senior Stacia Sarwinski scored 10 points and compiled 10 rebounds.

The overtime period began with the score knotted at 56. Forty-five seconds into the four minute period GHS junior Rachel Allington posted a lay-up to give the Lady Red a lead they would not relinquish.

With just under two minutes remaining in overtime Allington, who scored eight points in the game and made four of five from the line, hit two free throws to expand the Grove lead to six, 62-56, while Roland had yet to find the basket.

Critical rebounds in the overtime by Grove’s Kenzie Miller, Sarwinski, and Pogue spoiled the Lady Rangers offensive possessions throughout the extra half-quarter.

A five point Roland rally in the final 12 seconds of the game cut the Grove lead to 65-63 but time, and the lead, were on the Lady Red’s side. Miller was fouled in the closing seconds and responded with two free throws, going five of six from the line in the overtime period, to make the 67-63 final. 

Friday’s game saw the Lady Rangers jump to an 18-9 lead after the first quarter before Grove struck back in the second to trail 27-24 at the intermission.

Cook paced the Lady Red in the first half scoring 14 points, including all nine of Grove’s first quarter total.

The third quarter saw the Lady Ridgerunners catch and pass Roland on the scoreboard, outrunning their opponents 19-14 over the eight minutes. Grove took the lead with 3:45 left in the frame off a three-point basket from junior Peri Lane and held a two point advantage, 43-41, to begin the fourth.

The Lady Rangers held a two point lead, 56-54, with 27 seconds left in regulation. Sarwinski tied the game with two free throws, part of a four of four showing from the line in the fourth for the post, and the Lady Red came up with a rebound on the ensuing Roland possession. Grove dodged a bullet when, following a quick time out, their inbound pass went wrong and RHS came up with an interception but missed a lay-up as the buzzer sounded.

The Lady Rangers were led by Erika Edwards, with 33 points, and Jasmine Kirkwood, with 12.