By CEDRIQUE FLEMMING
The Sequoyah girls basketball team earned a hard-fought, 49-47 victory over Lincoln Christian Monday night inside Sequoyah Center.
In a game that was decided by a mere two points, it was turnovers that proved costly for the visiting Lady Bulldogs. The Lady Indians (14-6) forced 22 Lincoln Christian (14-7) turnovers, while committing only 10. Sequoyah also recorded 13 steals and led in points off turnovers by a 15-2 margin.
“We knew they had a couple of ball handlers who weren’t real good fundamentally, so part of our game plan was to attack them whenever we had the chance,” Sequoyah coach Larry Shade said. “We also wanted to be able to turn those turnovers into points, and we were able to do that.”
Audrey Ballou led Sequoyah with 16 points, five rebounds and five blocks in 27 minutes. Loren Young added 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting and seven boards.
“I give a lot of credit to Baylee (Ratliff) and Courtney (Jones) tonight. They were penetrating and drawing defenders, so I was left wide open on the block a lot,” Ballou said. “This was a good win tonight. We needed that confidence boost.”
Shanna Vogt led Lincoln Christian with 15 points, but also turned the ball over nine times. Shelby Brown added 14 points, and Shaelyn Ward pulled down 14 rebounds. Lincoln Christian won the rebounding battle, 42-27, and both teams scored 30 points in the paint. The two squads also made 21 total baskets and three from downtown.
The Lady Indians jumped out to a 16-9 advantage after the first quarter, but the visitors found themselves down just two at 33-31 after three frames.
Lincoln Christian took its only lead of the game at 40-39 following a triple from Vogt with 3:42 remaining in the contest, but Feather Pacheco answered right back with a trey of her own on Sequoyah’s next possession. The home side used a 9-2 run to pull ahead 48-42 and, despite three missed free throws late, was able to hold on for the gritty victory.
Sequoyah (boys) 57, Lincoln Christian 35
The Sequoyah boys used a suffocating defense to trump Lincoln Christian 57-35.
The Indians (14-6) forced 24 turnovers and recorded 19 steals in the huge victory over the Indians (10-11). The home team also received points from nine different members of the squad.
Sequoyah recorded 29 points off turnovers to just six from Lincoln Christian. The Indians also scored 14 fast-break points and held a 34-18 edge in points in the paint.
“They had a good scheme to try to break our pressure, and it made us adapt our press a bit,” Sequoyah coach Jay Herrin said. “We attacked the basket more and got to the free-throw line in the second half. That, along with the changing of our press, led to us holding them to just 17 points in the second half.”
The home team shot 44 percent (22-for-50) from the field, while holding the Bulldogs to just 32 percent (13-for-41) shooting. Those numbers trumped losing the rebounding battle 35-25.
Caisen Green led Sequoyah with 15 points. T.J. Jones added 10 off the bench for the home side.
“Getting a lot of turnovers helps us out a lot by giving us more offensive possessions,” Green said. “Not a lot of teams are able to press like we do, and that’s one of the reasons why I love playing here.”
Lincoln Christian held an 8-7 advantage after the first quarter, but Sequoyah took the lead in the second quarter and led 23-18 at intermission. The Indians wore down the Bulldogs in the second half and proved too much to handle, outscoring the visitors 34-17 in the final 16 minutes.
Austin Jones scored the first 10 points of the game for Lincoln Christian, and he ended with 18 points. He had seven rebounds in the first half but finished one shy of the double-double.