ADAIR – A stingy fourth-quarter defense and some pure offensive brilliance from Blake Bedsworth proved to be a winning formula for Sequoyah basketball Monday night.
Bedsworth – a 5-foot-11 senior who scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half – hit a 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter to give the Eagles a four-point lead, and the defense fed off the energy from that shot. Sequoyah went on to outscore Locust Grove 14-4 in the final frame to secure a 51-37 victory in the opening round of the Adair Invitational at the Adair Event Center.
The Eagles (2-0) play Chouteau-Mazie in the winner’s bracket semifinals at 8:40 p.m. Thursday. The Wildcats defeated Jay 64-54 in the first round.
Sequoyah coach Larry Grigg said a larger rotation was key to closing out the win.
“I want to think it might’ve been our bench,” said Grigg, whose defense forced 16 turnovers in all. “We ended up playing 11 kids; all of them got a little playing time. I think I’ve been playing eight, and I think that helped out a little bit.”
As for Bedsworth, it simply came down to not being satisfied with the situation facing his team.
Before his momentum-shifting triple, there had been eight lead changes and three ties. Neither squad could manage more than a five-point lead.
With that in mind, he took it upon himself to spark the Eagles to the separation they sought by scoring 10 points in the third quarter via two 3-balls, a three-point play and a free throw. He added only three points in the fourth, but his goal was accomplished.
Bedsworth also co-led the team in rebounds alongside Eli Wood with six.
“I just knew the team needed a boost,” Bedsworth said. “We were kind of playing lackadaisical even though we were winning in the first half, and I just think the team really needed someone to pick it up and take over that role.”
He had some help offensively as well.
In the season opener at Inola, he and Cooper Thompson combined for 39 of Sequoyah’s 48 points. The scoring was more diverse this time around, with four players scoring at least six points. Thompson had eight points while Kaleb Bickel, Karson Bickel and Braxton Bulman each tallied six.
Wood was just below that threshold with five points.
“I like it when we get contributions from other guys,” Grigg said. “Some of them have only been in the gym for 10 days because they were in football. I think our bench is going to be one of our strengths.”
Jake Bible scored eight of his 15 points in the third quarter to lead the Pirates while also pulling down a game-high seven rebounds.
GIRLS | LOCUST GROVE 73, SEQUOYAH 31: It was clear early on that the Lady Eagles didn’t have much of a chance at an upset.
Class 4A No. 15 Locust Grove scored the game’s first 31 points, holding Sequoyah scoreless until Abby Pennington hit a free throw with 3:28 remaining in the second quarter. Emma Blackwood scored the team’s first field goal with a 3-pointer shortly after the drought ended, but it came far too late to make a difference.
The Lady Eagles did manage to improve offensively, though, for they scored in double digits in the final three quarters (10, 10 and 11) after trailing 19-0 after the first. Sequoyah trailed by as many as 46 points (66-20) before winning the fourth by an 11-7 count after the Lady Pirates removed their starters.
In addition to the slow start, the Lady Eagles committed 23 turnovers and made only 3 of 10 free throws. In comparison, Locust Grove shot 6-of-8 from the line and surrendered possession 12 times, most of which came in that fourth quarter.
Sidney Roland, Kyra Crenshaw and Blackwood each managed seven points to lead the team in scoring while adding five, three and two rebounds, respectively.
The Lady Pirates had three players score in double figures, led by Madison Smith with 15 points while Madison Hunt contributed 12 and Kaitlynn Spradlin had 14. They each finished with four rebounds as well, co-leading the team alongside Sloane Sweeney and Chloe Silka.
Sequoyah plays at 4:40 p.m. Thursday against the loser of Tuesday’s game between Chouteau-Mazie and Dewey.
SEQUOYAH 51, LOCUST GROVE 37
SEQUOYAH -- Blake Bedsworth 18, Thompson 8, Kaleb Bickel 6, Karson Bickel 6, Bulman 6, Eli Wood 5, Luke Wood 2.
LOCUST GROVE -- Jake Bible 15, Fogleman 8, Heath 3, Holman 3, Blackbear 2, Bond 2, Dean 2, Shamel 2.
3-point goals: Sequoyah -- Bedsworth 3, Thompson 2, Karson Bickel 2, Kaleb Bickel 1. Locust Grove -- Bible 3, Heath 1, Fogleman 1.
Free throws: Sequoyah 7-14. Locust Grove 4-7.
Rebounds: Sequoyah -- Bedsworth 6, Eli Wood 6, Team 4, Thompson 3, Kaleb Bickel 3, Janos 2, Bulman 1, Karson Bickel 1. TOTAL 26. Locust Grove -- Bible 7, Holman 4, Bond 4, Brown 3, Dean 3, Shamel 2, Blackbear 2, Fogleman 2. TOTAL 28.
Turnovers: Sequoyah 8. Locust Grove 16.
LOCUST GROVE 73, SEQUOYAH 31
SEQUOYAH -- Crenshaw 7, Blackwood 7, Roland 7, Pennington 5, Cloud 2, Wallin 2, Valdey 1.
LOCUST GROVE -- Madison Smith 15, Kaitlynn Spradlin 14, Madison Hunt 12, Thilges 7, Sweeney 7, Fine 6, Williams 4, Gilman 3, Silka 3, Meeks 2.
3-point goals: Sequoyah -- Blackwood 1, Roland 1. Locust Grove -- Smith 2, Spradlin 2, Thilges 1, Gilman 1, Silka 1.
Free throws: Sequoyah 3-10. Locust Grove 6-8.
Rebounds: Sequoyah -- Roland 5, Team 5, Pennington 3, Crenshaw 3, Valdey 3, Wallin 2, Blackwood 2, Cloud 1. TOTAL 24. Locust Grove -- Hunt 4, Sweeney 4, Spradlin 4, Smith 4, Silka 4, Gilman 3, Thilges 1, Fine 1, Williams 1, Meeks 1, Hendrickson 1, Team 1. TOTAL 29.
Turnovers: Sequoyah 23. Locust Grove 12.