Fantastic Finish

Inola’s Katelyn Harbison (35) and Lindsey Byfield (4) share a celebratory hug after leading the Lady Longhorns to a 52-49 win over Verdigris.

INOLA — Just call it ‘Martin Magic.’

Since taking over the Inola girls basketball program, head coach Donnie Martin is perfect against the Verdigris Lady Cardinals inside the Inola Indoor Sports Arena.

In his second year at Inola, Martin improved to 2-0 over Verdigris in the month of January following Friday’s 52-49 victory.

A year ago, Martin and his step-daughter Lexi Williams led the Inola Lady Longhorns to a thrilling 53-51 nail-biting victory.

Fast forward to Friday, and the Lady ‘Horns continued their hot streak over Verdigris.

After Verdigris clung to a 23-20 halftime lead, Inola’s intensity raised to another level and produced another fantastic finish. McKenzie Risenhoover’s 3-pointer with 4:42 left in the game increased the Verdigris lead to 41-37.

Two possessions later, Inola freshman guard Katelyn Hinds hit one of the biggest shots of her young career — a 3-pointer that put the Lady ‘Horns up 42-41 with 3:50 remaining.

As the game see-sawed back-and-forth with Inola’s Kylie Rue taking over in the paint, the Lady ‘Horns got a pair of free throws from Katelyn Harbison with 0:38 remaining to put Inola ahead 50-47.

Verdigris senior guard Kylie Cravens, who finished with eight points, narrowed the deficit to 50-49 with a hard-earned offensive putback in the paint with 0:19 left in the game.

Lindsey Byfield, however, sealed the win for Inola with two free throw conversions and Cravens’ 3-point miss to send the game into overtime rimmed out  for Verdigris.

The loss was the Lady Cards’ fourth-straight since falling to Claremore in the Port City Classic semifinals.

Byfield led Inola with 12 points, while Courtney Risenhoover had 13 for Verdigris.

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