The GHS basketball teams hosted a Saturday night feature against the Wyandotte Bears (6-4) and Lady Bears (7-3, 2A #20) with the Grove teams coming out on top in both games.
The Lady Ridgerunners (4-3) posted a fourth quarter rally to come out on top 44-43 while the Ridgerunners (2-5) pulled away late to secure a 48-44 victory.
Heading into the final eight minutes of the girls contest Wyandotte held a 37-31 lead. With 4:22 left on the clock the Lady Bears posted a bucket by Kayla Oleman to keep their six-point spread, 43-37, but it would prove to be the last Wyandotte points of the night as from there the Lady Red defense took control of matters to begin the Grove comeback.
“Our defense came up with a bunch of big stops,” said Lady Ridgerunner Head Coach Richard Bassett. “I contribute that to the girls selling out and playing as hard as they can. And they understand the defense; they weren’t just getting out and running around. They really did a great job those last four minutes.”
With the Lady Red defense clicking their offense began to find the hoop as the minutes wound down. Points from senior Margaret Pogue, junior Rachel Allington, and sophomore Kenzie Miller helped to bring Grove to within one, 43-42 with 2:29 remaining.
Wyandotte began playing ball control at the end but a missed free throw with :35 seconds left, combined with a Lady Red rebound, gave the home team a final offensive possession.
After a quick time-out Grove moved down the court and junior Logan Cook found teammate Miller who made a field goal to put Grove ahead, 44-43, with :15 seconds left in the game.
“She did a fantastic job,” Bassett said of Miller’s shot. “That was great. It was soft, right off the glass, and a huge, huge play for her and will give her a lot of confidence.”
Wyandotte had time to play with but a walking call ended their ensuing possession and clinched the Lady Ridgerunner win.
Pogue led the GHS scorers with nine points. Senior Stacia Sarwinski placed eight, while Miller ended with seven. Miller led the team in rebounds with eight.
“It was a great win,” said Bassett. “I’m very proud of them, extremely proud.”
Abbi Munson, with 14, was the WHS leading scorer. Teammates Jesse Stone produced nine and Kayla Oleman scored eight points.
The Ridgerunners/Bears game saw the visitors race out to a 14-6 first quarter lead before Grove balanced the books to make it a 27-25 Wyandotte lead at the half.
“They (Wyandotte) beat us twice last year and the boys were fired up thinking they had to answer and that they owed them something,” said Ridgerunner Head Coach Doug Winters.
With 2:35 remaining in the third Grove senior Trent Winters scored a bucket to begin a five-point unanswered streak for the Ridgerunners that gave them a one point lead, 34-33, with 1:06 left in the frame.
The Bears responded with a field goal from Derek Durborow to retake the lead but a basket by Grove senior Ryan Miller, with two seconds left in the quarter, put Grove back on top for good.
The fourth quarter saw the Ridgerunner defense dominate the boards while their offense continued to put up points. The Bears scored nine points in the final eight minutes with all, save a three-pointer from Shane Friend, coming from the charity stripe.
“Ryan Miller was an animal,” said Coach Winters about Grove’s second half defensive performance. “Ryan’s been really frustrated with his offense and tonight he had some great boards and put-backs and some driving lay-ups and nice passes from his teammates.
“Jack Johnson came up huge in the fourth quarter,” Coach Winters said. “I thought Buck Maples played tremendous minutes when Jack and Ryan were struggling in the first half. It was nice to see the rebounding; we were keeping them to one shot.”
Senior Tyler Spychalski was the leading scorer for the Ridgerunners with 13 points, including a trio of three-pointers. Miller finished with 11, while Winters and Maples scored seven apiece.
“It’s kind of funny. I thought against Miami and Vinita we did some really good things and came up with a loss,” said Coach Winters. “Tonight, I didn’t think we played very sharp but we did what we had to do late and we came up with a win. Usually those things work out but when you are 1-5 and you have a new team you want a win because you hope that with a win the kids are catching on and believing in what we’re trying to do with a new system and everything. So, I thought this was really a needed win.
“Wyandotte’s a really good team, they’re going to do really well in 2A,” Coach Winters added. “Coach (Paul) Duncan does a good job.”
Friend ended the night as the WHS high scorer with 14 while Durborow posted 12 points.
“They work hard for me,” Coach Winters said of his team. “I was proud of them. I think our bench did a great job spotting; it was a good team win.”
The Ridgerunner teams hit the road tonight (Tuesday) for a date with Delaware County rivals Kansas. Wyandotte hosts Colcord on Thursday.
GHS drops two at Vinita
Friday night saw the GHS varsity basketball teams travel to Vinita for Verdigris Valley Conference play. The Lady Red dropped a 62-27 game to the Lady Hornets (7-0, 4A #2) while the Ridgerunners fell 66-50 to the Hornets (6-1).
Margaret Pogue was the high scorer for the Lady Ridgerunners with nine points. The senior also led the team in rebounds with five. Kelsey Kerr and Kenzie Miller rounded out the top scorers for Grove with five each.
Trent Winters led the Ridgerunners with 16 points against Vinita. Sophomore Trent Phillips placed 11 while senior Tyler Spychalski scored seven. Ryan Miller led the team in rebounding with eight.