SEQUOYAH — Despite being at home with flulike symptoms, Sequoyah sharpshooter Zach Perry certainly left an impact on Tuesday night’s game.
The senior seemingly unified his talent with Drake Olari’s spirit, and the result was something akin to “Like Mike”, for Olari sunk six 3-pointers to lead Sequoyah past Kansas, 36-33, at the Olan Graham Field House.
Perry hit 15 such shots during a three-game stretch in the Adair Invitational last week, including seven against both Wyandotte and Dewey.
“There’s always famous flu games, so I was trying to do one for him,” said Olari, who finished with a game-high 18 points and three rebounds. “That was the main reason (for shooting more 3-pointers), and it was fun.”
Blake Bedsworth chipped in from beyond the arc as well, drilling three 3-balls on the way to an 11-point, three-rebound stat line.
Eagles coach Larry Grigg said it was by far Olari’s best game this season, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Even one less 3 could’ve meant overtime.
“We encourage him to shoot more 3s, but he hasn’t been stroking it,” Grigg said. “But you can tell he was feeling it tonight.”
Sequoyah (4-1) was also without 6-foot-5 senior Dakota Page, putting it at a severe disadvantage on the boards.
Kansas (1-2) outrebounded the Eagles, 36-11, as a result, and used that size disparity to limit Sequoyah to 5 points in the second and fourth quarters combined.
Olari was held scoreless in both those frames, but his 9 third-quarter points—all 3-pointers—proved to be the difference.
“Our team usually has third-quarter struggles and teams will go on runs, but (my shots) just kept going in, so I was like, ‘I’ll shoot,’” Olari said.
Led by Kaiden Osbourn and Seth Evans, the Comets nearly overcame a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit with a timely 12-0 run.
“I won’t say I’m a perfectionist, but I thought we had the game under control,” Grigg said. “And maybe (the players) thought they did, too, and lost it a little bit. We missed a couple free throws, missed a couple layups and took some ill-advised shots, but it’s a win.”
Osbourn and Evans combined for 16 points and 22 rebounds overall, tallying 8 points during the late rally.
Grigg was especially impressed by Evans, who blocked multiple shots to go along with his 6 points and 11 rebounds.
“He blocked I don’t know how many shots, and we have to make those types of layups,” Grigg said. “He’s the best player on the floor as far as all-around.”
Kansas had several chances to tie the game after an Evans layup made it 36-33 with 1:03 remaining, but Sequoyah’s defense made plays when Olari struggled to find shots.
The Eagles forced 24 turnovers in all, eight of which came in the fourth. The final takeaway came with only 18.8 seconds remaining.
Kansas had one last chance to get off a 3 after a missed Sequoyah free throw, but Osbourn’s half-court heave fell short.
“We hadn’t pressed all year, but we didn’t have our big kid (Page), so I thought we needed to,” Grigg said. “We got some turnovers there late when we went to that 3-2 zone, which we haven’t run all year.”