One game went to the wire. The other game went beyond.
Inola and Claremore Sequoyah squared off Friday night and traded high school basketball haymakers and histrionics.
The girls went at it first, then the boys.
Inola emerged the winner in each set-to, but it really was tough to tell if either side won. Or lost.
Each game had plots and subplots, heroes and heroines, close calls and ultimate escapes.
Politicians and poll-watchers might have called each game “too close to call.”
The scoreboard, though, is the final arbiter, and the scoreboard says that Inola won the girls game, 47-44, and that Inola won the boys game, 79-76, in overtime.
The two teams played 68 minutes of combined in-your-face basketball, and a grand total of six points was all that separated victory from defeat.
Inola trailed by three with 50 seconds remaining in the girls game, then hit six straight free throws to pull out an exciting decision that would have been satisfying enough for the paying customers if that had been the only contest of the night in the Olan Graham Field House.
But then the boys came along, and raised the bar on dramatic effects.
Sequoyah’s Blake Breshears rebounded his own miss and scored with six seconds remaining to force the overtime.
In the four-minute extension, four different Longhorns scored and four free throws in the final 20 seconds sealed off Sequoyah.
Inola built an eight-point first-period lead, a nine-point lead in the second, and was on top by seven late in the third before Sequoyah decided to make a game of it.
The Lady Eagles scored eight straight points in the final 1:16 of the third quarter to take their first lead.
With Jennifer Morris throwing in four of her five three-pointers in the fourth, Sequoyah pulled in front by as many as seven.
But except for a single free throw, Morris was the entire Sequoyah offense in the fourth period. Five Lady Longhorns scored, and they regained the lead at 41-40 with 1:45 remaining when 6-2 freshman Kelsey Sears scored from close range.
Morris put Sequoyah back in front, 43-41, 25 seconds later, and Megan Fuller’s free throw made it 44-41 with 50 seconds left.
But down the stretch, Sequoyah could not manage another point.
Mandy Grigg started the Inola comeback with two free throws with 43 seconds showing. She made a steal, drew a foul and added two more free throws with 25 seconds left.
That thrust Inola back into the lead.
Morris, who had hit five of six treys in the second half, tried one more. It missed its mark and went out of bounds in favor of Inola with three seconds left.
On the inbounds, Sears was fouled, and she put down the final two free throws with the calm demeanor of a veteran.
She finished with eight points, but her five blocked shots early in the contest were mind-altering from the Sequoyah point of view.
Another freshman, teammate Candace Maldonado hauled in 11 rebounds to give Inola a 30-20 advantage in that department.
Fuller led Sequoyah and the game with 12 rebounds.
Inola’s free-throw accuracy proved vital. The Lady Longhorns made seven of seven in the fourth quarter, finishing with nine of 11. Sequoyah counted only five of 12.
Inola evened its record at 4-4, and moved to 3-2 in the Will Rogers Conference.
Sequoyah is 5-4 and 3-2.
This was a game pitting teacher against pupil. Or, in this instance, teacher against two pupils.
Inola’s Clyde Barkley coached Sequoyah’s staff of Scott Kiker and assistant Tucker Thompson back in the ’90s.
Their series has developed into an instant classic.
Last season, Barkley defeated his proteges three times, including the regional tournament. In the regular season, Inola won by scores of 51-50 and 65-63.
Friday night’s renewal was more of the same.
There were four ties in the first half, and four more in the fourth quarter before the extra session rolled around.
Inola took a 36-31 lead into the third period, but lost it in less than two minutes. A personal foul, a technical foul and a basket on the inbounds play for Sequoyah resulted in six points and set the stage for a pulsating second half.
Breshears counted 10 of his 23 points in the third period and shot Sequoyah into a nine-point lead that dwindled to three entering the fourth.
Seth Moore and Alex Weaver each hit a pair of three-pointers in Inola’s 20-point fourth quarter. Sequoyah countered with six players producing points.
It was a give-and-take, run-and-gun affair with a dizzying pace.
Inola pulled in front, 68-66, on Moore’s trey at 1:14, but the Longhorns were stymied there. It was up to Breshears some 68 seconds later to force the overtime.
Sequoyah scored first, thanks to Levy Adcock. But Moore’s three-pointer regained the upper hand for Inola, 71-70, at 3:12, and the Longhorns never surrendered.
Tyler Stone and Nick Cotton each hit two free throws in the final 20 seconds to assure Inola of its second victory against five losses.
Adcock collected 18 rebounds and Alex Haynes added 11 as Sequoyah gained a 51-32 advantage on the boards.
Each team scored 32 field goals, but Inola’s nine three-pointers, compared to only two for Sequoyah, proved the difference.
Matt Wheeler scored 20 for Inola, hitting nine of 13 field goal attempts. The electrifying Jared Cotton came off the bench to add 17 for the Longhorns. Wheeler and Cotton were the only Longhorns to score in every quarter and the overtime.
Adcock, who scored six of Sequoyah’s eight overtime points, finished with 15, the lone Eagle to score in every period.
In the Will Rogers Conference, Inola moved to 2-3 (and 2-5 overall), while Sequoyah stands at 1-4 and 3-6.
INOLA 79, SEQUOYAH 76
Inola 15 21 12 20 11 — 79
Sequoyah 15 16 20 17 8 — 76
Inola — Wheeler 20, J.Cotton 17, Moore 16, Stone 10, Alex Weaver 6, Elseman 6, N.Cotton 2, Clifford 2.
Sequoyah — Breshears 23, Adcock 15, Miller 14, Haynes 14, D.Smith 5, Mitchell 3, Marsh 2.
INOLA 47, SEQUOYAH 44
Inola 15 10 5 17 — 47
Sequoyah 7 11 13 13 — 44
Inola — Unruh 13, Mandy Grigg 12, Sears 8, Mary Grigg 8, Maldonado 6.
Sequoyah — Morris 15, Weast 11, Fuller 10, Goad 5, May 3, Conger 0.