Vinita used an 18-point third quarter — highlighted by the sophomore leadership of Carsyn Spurgeon — and converted 21-of-34 free throws to notch a 61-55 win over the Inola Lady Longhorns Saturday night in the Class 4A Area Tournament.
The win advanced Vinita to the Class 4A State Tournament this week, while Inola ended its season with a 20-9 overall record under first-year head coach Donnie Martin.
Inola clung to a 30-19 halftime lead, despite having four players in foul trouble.
Senior point guard Lexi Williams keyed Inola’s first-half, scoring 12 points — eight in the first quarter.
Kylie Rue’s offensive putback with 3:45 remaining in the first quarter kick-started Inola’s offense and put the Lady Longhorns up 9-1.
A baseline jumper and a transitional layup by Williams increased Inola’s lead to 13-5 at the 1:39 mark of the opening quarter.
Spurgeon, though, made only one field goal in the first half — a 10-foot jumper with 5:27 left in the second quarter — but hit 5-of-6 free throws to spark Vinita’s offense with seven of the 19 points.
With Inola’s top three scoring threats plagued by foul trouble — Williams, Kristen Mootry and Lindsey Byfield with three each — Vinita’s philosophy on offense turned to attack mode.
Spurgeon tallied 23 of her game-high 30 points in the second half to rally Vinita. She had seven points in the third quarter as Vinita trimmed Inola’s lead to 42-37.
Spurgeon’s bucket in the paint with 7:05 remaining in the game cut the deficit to 42-40.
Back-to-back baskets by Byfield and two free throw conversions by Chandler Ford increased Inola’s lead back to 48-42 with 4:17 remaining.
Spurgeon, however, answered once again with a free throw and baseline jumper to cut Inola’s lead to 48-47.
Both teams battled back-and-forth until Vinita’s Kamry Chamberlain knocked down a game-tying 3-pointer with 1:57 remaining to make it 54-54.
Vinita outscored Inola, 7-1 down the stretch to secure the state tournament berth.
Williams led the Lady Longhorns with 17 points and Byfield finished with 15. Mootry also contributed with 14 points and Carli Jones tallied four.