MUSKOGEE — Ron Cox has been on the job less than two weeks and he already has some hardware at Sequoyah.
In only his fourth game as Sequoyah’s coach, Cox saw his Class 3A No. 11 Lady Indians claim Cherokee County supremacy over Hulbert, claiming a 45-37 victory while finishing third in the small schools bracket of the Bedouin Shrine Classic.
Audrey Ballou scored a team-high 12 points for Sequoyah. The 5-foot-9 junior was also the catalyst in a pivotal third quarter for the Lady Indians (7-4).
After a 21-21 score at intermission inside the Muskogee Civic Center, Ballou was a perfect 4 for 4 from the floor in the third quarter to guide Sequoyah on a 10-0 run. The scoring spurt led to a third quarter in which the Lady Indians outscored Hulbert 18-5.
“We finally started getting the ball to the open person,” Cox said, “and they looked for a shot.”
In the third period, Sequoyah was 7 of 9 from the field and 3 for 4 from the foul line.
“We wanted to slow the ball down and hit our open man,” said Sequoyah senior guard Courtney Jones, who scored 10 points on 4 of 10 shooting in the game.
“And we started hitting shots that opened everyone else.”
Hulbert wasn’t as fortunate in the third quarter. The Lady Riders were a dismal 2 of 10 from the floor, and one of those makes was a running jumper by Tiffany Thompson as time expired.
“I think (Cox) decided he couldn’t guard us man on man, so he got in that 1-2-2 zone,” Ott said of Sequoyah in the third quarter. “We didn’t do a very good job of finding the seams and gaps in it, and give them some credit [for that]. We kind of got to standing around and watching the ball game a little bit. And we just couldn’t hit a bucket when we needed it.”
Thompson led Hulbert with 17 points, but the junior guard was 6 of 18 from the floor. Allison Arnall also scored in double figures for the Lady Riders (9-4) with 16 points on a 6-of-10 performance from the field.
Beyond Thompson and Arnall, Hulbert only got four points from Lindsay Krueger.
And that was it on offense.
The reserves “have to got to get a little better about taking that pressure off [those three],” Ott said of his club’s scoring balance. “I thought maybe with Brooke (Bailey) scoring some (Friday) night that might of helped her today, but her confidence factor isn’t too good. But she’s going to be good.
“And Megan Cox started off the year good, but her confidence hasn’t gotten any better since. Right now, if Megan misses a shot, she’s done.”
Arnall and Thompson did try to lead a furious rally late, burying a trio of treys to trim Sequoyah’s lead to an eight-point margin.
Yet, despite turning the ball over six times — after handing the ball over only four times prior to the fourth quarter — the Lady Indians were able to hold on in a rematch of the two county schools, which met last year in the tournament’s semifinals.
Sequoyah will now head to Tulsa Tuesday for its second game against Cascia Hall in 12 days. Cascia Hall won 43-40 in Cox’s coaching debut on Jan. 4.
Now it’s just a matter of putting it all together for Sequoyah.
“I think we could be pretty good,” Jones said of the Lady Indians’ potential come February, when the Lady Indians should be back to full strength with Baylee Ratliff returning. “We’re going to be pretty solid, if we stick to our game plan every day and keep working hard.”
Hulbert will be at Chouteau on Tuesday night, facing a club it beat 73-35 in a season opener on Nov. 27.
Sequoyah 45, Hulbert 37
Seq 12 9 18 6 - 45
Hul 10 11 5 11 - 37
Sequoyah (7-4): Audrey Ballou 12, Courtney Jones 10, Loren Young 9, Kelsey Leach 7, Sierra Polk 4, Feather Pacheco 3.
Hulbert (9-4): Tiffany Thompson 17, Allison Arnall 16, Lindsay Krueger 4.