SEQUOYAH – With the clock winding and a 16-point lead already wasted, this time Sequoyah refused to lose.
Dakota Page received a pass inside from Drake Olari with 23 seconds left and sank a layup, giving the Eagles a 41-40 victory over Miami on Senior Night.
With eight seconds remaining, Sequoyah stole the ball, leading to a missed layup at 6.6. Drew Williams rebounded for the Wardogs and fired down court for a teammate, but Eagles junior Blake Bedsworth intercepted, ending the game.
“We might have been playing not to lose rather than playing to win,’’ said Sequoyah coach Larry Grigg, whose hard-luck Eagles have known previous late-game disappointment. “The momentum shifted to them (the Wardogs) in the second half after they turned up their defense.’’
Page and Olari scored hoops for the home team to open the second half, pushing the Eagles ahead 33-17. Apparently ready to sail, Grigg watched with frustration as his team was outscored 15-1 and went 8:03 without a field goal.
Ahead by just 34-32, the Eagles continued to claw and protect their lead until Miami banged around underneath for power hoops from bullish Terrance Krush and Grant Nolte. Nolte’s bucket gave the Wardogs a 40-39 lead with 44.7 seconds showing.
Sequoyah called time at 29.2 and six seconds after the inbounds pass, Olari and Page combed for the winning points. Bedsworth contributed the clinching steal.
“He saved us. He made me feel easier,’’ Grigg said. “We did a good job shooting the ball in the first half and then we missed those same shots in the second. I didn’t think (Zach) Perry got open as much in the second half.’’
Jacob Eaton scored 16 points to lead Sequoyah with Perry adding nine, all in the first half. Krush poured in 18 for Miami. The Wardogs increased their defensive pressure in the third period forced the Eagles into nine of their 11 turnovers in the second half. Miami did not attempt a trey in the final period, instead hitting 7-of-8 shots from up close.
MIAMI 40, SEQUOYAH 33 (girls): Sequoyah executed a mad dash to the finish line that almost caught up the Lady Wardogs. Trailing 33-19 early in the final quarter, the Lady Eagles scored 11 straight points, finally slicing Miami’s lead to 33-30 with 1:26 left.
Freshman Sidney Roland flushed a three-point shot to keep Sequoyah within 36-33 with 50 seconds remaining, but Bailey Beckwith and Shelley Hubbard each converted a pair of free throws in the last 26 seconds to ice the outcome for Miami.
Roland came off the bench to lead the Eagles 10 points while Hubbard got 11 and Mary Gilbert 10 for the Lady Wardogs. Sequoyah came out frigid in the first half, hitting 19.5 percent from the field and trailing 20-11 at intermission.
Miami dominated the third period in building a 31-16 gap, but the Eagles regrouped behind tight defensive pressure and forced the Dogs into 10 second half turnovers.