GROVE – On the power of a 15-4 fourth quarter the Grove Ridgerunners basketball team won their season opener here Friday night over the Wyandotte Bears in a 51-39 contest.
“I think they (WHS) got tired,” GHS head coach Doug Winters said about the final eight minutes. “Their bench isn’t very deep and I think our rotation wore them out a little bit.
“They’re a really good team,” Winters said about the Bears. “Paul (Duncan, WHS Head Coach) does a really good job and that team is gonna do some things this year in their class.”
Grove held a one point lead, 36-35, as the fourth quarter began. Early in the frame Ridgerunner senior Jake Martin picked off a WHS (1-2) pass and landed a three-point shot that was the genesis of a 10-point unanswered streak for the home team.
“I think that was the backbreaker,” Winters said about Martin’s fourth quarter trey. “He was down there by himself, one against two, and he was off balance but still made it.”
Field goals from GHS senior Josh Harding and a trey from fellow senior Cody Medeiros helped to seal the Bears in a cave.
“I’m happy for Josh,” Winters said. “He’s worked hard in the off season and he’s becoming a leader for the team.”
Wyandotte didn’t score in the fourth until the 3:42 mark off a basket from Derek Darborow.
The contest was tied at the half and the Bears held a 15-11 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
“We had some pre-game jitters,” Winters allowed. “It’s our first game of the year and early on we couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn.
“We had a lot of great looks early on but couldn’t convert,” Winters said. “But we kept fighting.”
Martin wound up the leading scorer for the Ridgerunners bagging 16 points. Harjo landed 12 points, 10 in the second half, while Medeiros rounded out the GHS high-scorers with seven.
Daitin Sparks, with 14, led the WHS scorers while Dakota Sparks landed 10, including a pair of treys. Zach Butterfield finished with eight points, all scored in the first quarter; two three pointers and a field goal.
The Ridgerunners host Wagoner Thursday while Wyandotte hosts Quapaw.