Bell scores 30 points in Inola’s 79-66 victory
VERDIGRIS — Monday’s basketball game between Rogers County rivals had it all.
Long bombs, driving acrobatic hoops, intense physical play and even three fans tossed from the game by officials.
When the smoke cleared, Inola was left standing with a 79-66 win over Verdigris — but it wasn’t easy.
The Horns (15-7) needed a late rally to beat Verdigris, a team much better than its 7-16 record.
Hall of Fame Inola coach Clyde Barkley used the inside force of Micah Bell, who led all scorers with 30 points, and the outside shooting of Carson Thompson, who nailed six 3-pointers on his way to 18 points. Jordan Spurlock scored all 13 of his points in the first half and Jayden Biggs added 11 for Inola.
Tyler Haddock was a scoring machine for Verdigris, leading his team with 27 points. Riley Dixon and Brock Fugate each had 12 for the Cards.
Fans of a mid-range jumper were sorely disappointed Monday, as both teams either drove hard to the hoop or launched from outside. And it was a strategy that worked for each team at some point in the game.
Verdigris was hot early, but Inola rallied to tie the game at 18 after one quarter. In fact, Inola took a 40-36 lead into halftime with the help of a buzzer-beating 3-point bucket by Thompson.
The Longhorns took an eight-point lead early in the third after Thompson dropped three more treys, but Verdigris wasn’t through yet. The Cards rallied with a 24-point scoring flurry late in the quarter and took a 60-59 lead at the buzzer on a Haddock layup.
The good news, Verdigris a lead entering the fourth quarter. The bad news, the only points they would get in the fourth quarter were on three Haddock buckets.
Inola went on to outscore Verdigris 20-6 the rest of the way.
The Longhorns will host Vinita at 8 p.m. Friday in the Class 4A, Area II, District 2 game. The Cardinals will also host their Class 3A, Area II, District 7 game at 8 p.m. against Morris.
Both teams, win or lose, will advance to regionals on Thursday, Feb. 22.