INOLA – The Jay Bulldogs dug themselves a hole they just couldn’t get out of in a season-ending 72-53 loss to Inola in a Class 4A, Area IV regional consolation game Thursday afternoon.
Sophomore center Casey Gill scored 12 of his game-high 27 points in the first quarter to stake the host Longhorns (12-10) to a 17-7 lead.
From there the Jay offense would completely dry up and things would go from bad to disastrous for the Bulldogs. Gill would add four more points for the Longhorns and get help from six of his teammates as Inola scored 20 in the period to take a 37-11 halftime lead.
The Bulldogs (12-12) would finally come to life in the third quarter behind the hot shooting of senior guard Jared Sloan. Playing in what would turn out to be his final game, Sloan poured in 13 of his team-leading 25 points during the third.
A pair of threes by Sloan would cut the Inola lead to 39-23 with six minutes left in the third. In all the Bulldogs would score 23 points in the period, helped by their sudden ability to take care of the ball. After committing 16 turnovers in the first half, the Bulldogs only turned it over once in the third quarter.
But the Longhorns would come up with an answer for every Bulldog challenge, despite turning the ball over 22 times on the day themselves. After seeing their lead cut to 16, Inola would answer with a three by Travis Hall and a bucket by Joe McFeeters to re-establish control and maintain a 52-34 lead at the end of the quarter.
Sloan would lead one more Bulldog charge in the final period, scoring five straight points to cut the lead to 63-51 with 2:48 to go.
Inola would answer by scoring nine of the final 11 points to move on and extend their season for another day.
The Longhorns, who will face Fort Gibson in the consolation semifinals on Friday in Fort Gibson, made 8-of-11 at the free throw line in the fourth quarter and 16-of-23 for the game.
In addition to Sloan’s 25, Stephen Tanner scored nine points for Jay, while Jordan Sweeney added eight. This is the second straight year the Bulldogs’ season has ended in the regional consolations.
Zac Proctor finished with 13 points for Inola, while Hall and McFeeters added eight each.