By CEDRIQUE FLEMMING
PARK HILL — The Sequoyah girls defeated Keys 53-48 Tuesday night inside Cougar Fieldhouse. The Lady Indians built a lead that soared to 14 points late in the third quarter, and they were able to hold on for the five-point triumph.
Jhonnett Cookson led Sequoyah with 18 points, 11 rebounds and a pair of blocks. Cenia Hayes finished with 13 points and eight rebounds, and Audrey Ballou added 12 points and four blocks for the Lady Indians (15-1).
“This was a tough game from the tip. It always seems to be that way with these two teams,” Sequoyah coach Larry Callison said. “(Keys) played well, and we missed a lot of shots.”
The Lady Cougars (8-6) made things interesting late, as they fought back to cut the deficit down to three (49-46) with 1:45 to play following a 3-point basket from Taylor O’Donnell. Keys went 0-for-3 with a turnover on its next four possessions, however, as the road team was able to hold off the comeback.
“We played with a sense of urgency and we played with energy, and that’s what got us back in the game,” Keys coach Mickey Duncan said. “You have to love that as a coach. We haven’t played at home since the first of December, so it was a little bit of relief to be able to have a home game even though we weren’t able to get the win.”
Sydni Rainbolt led the Lady Cougars with 17 points. She also contributed seven rebounds, three assists, three steals, and two blocks in 25 minutes. Ali Nolan chipped in 11 points for the home team. Keys shot 32.7 percent (17-for-52) from the field, 32 percent (8-for-25) from downtown and 66.7 percent (6-for-9) at the line.
Sequoyah shot 33.3 percent (16-for-48) from the field, 30 percent (3-for-10) from behind the arc and 72 percent (18-for-25) from the free-throw line. The Lady Indians held a 41-30 rebounding advantage, and they also picked up 16 offensive rebounds that led to 15 second-chance points.
“The offensive rebounds were huge. If we don’t pick those up then we would have been in trouble,” Callison said. “Jhonnett Cookson worked hard for us. She battled for those boards. That was probably the difference in the game.
Boys: Sequoyah 61, Keys 23
Only a blank screen remained when taking a peek at the scoreboard, because it was turned off seconds after the final buzzer sounded. That pretty much summed up the performance of the Keys boys basketball team.
The operator had quickly shut off the evidence in an effort to hide the 61-23 drubbing suffered at the hands of Sequoyah Tuesday night.
Nothing went right for Keys. The home team had more missed shots (31) and turnovers (30) than points. The leading scorer (Coby Ward) finished with a mere seven points in 22 minutes.
Sequoyah (13-2) benched their starters with 3:19 left in the third quarter. At that point, Caisen Green — coming off his MVP performance at the Tri-State Classic in Jay — had 20 points, B.J. Leach had 11, and Keys had just 10 total.
“We played all 15 kids tonight and they all contributed,” Sequoyah coach Jay Herrin said. “(Keys) is just having a down year right now, but those kids played hard and they made us earn what we got. I take my hat off to them for coming out and competing. They’re just having a tough time scoring right now.”
Speaking of scoring woes, the Cougars managed just one point in the entire second quarter and a mere three points in the third quarter. The only glimmer of hope for the Cougars is they were able to outscore Sequoyah’s reserves 13-12 in the final 11:19.
In a lopsided game like Tuesday’s contest, Herrin said it was important for his team to focus on improving the little things.
“We really wanted to work on our press (defense) tonight,” he said. “Keys tries to break our press in a different way than most teams, so we were trying to offset that. We were able to produce some turnovers in the first half.
And on offense?
“On offense we were just trying to get a good shot on every possession whether we ran a set or ran our transition offense. We thought we could get out and push the ball,” Herrin said.
Sequoyah shot 38.3 percent (23-for-60) from the field, 15.8 percent (3-for-19) from behind the three-point line and 60 percent (12-for-20) at the free-throw line. Keys shot 18.4 percent (7-for-38) overall, 12.5 percent (2-for-16) from downtown and 58.3 percent (7-for-12) at the line.
The Indians also held substantial advantages in points in the paint (32-8), points off turnovers (29-9) and fast-break points (10-0).
Girls: Sequoyah 53, Keys 48
Sequoyah 16 9 16 12 53
Keys 12 10 12 14 48
SEQUOYAH: Jhonnett Cookson 18, Cenia Hayes 13, Audrey Ballou 12, Loren Young 4, Sierra Polk 3, Courtney Tiger 2, Amy Tiger 1. Totals 16-48 18-25 53.
KEYS: Sydni Rainbolt 17, Ali Nolan 11, Taylor O’Donnell 6, Morgan Drywater 4, Jaylee Young 3, Casey Nolan 3,
Kaylee Snyder 2, Sierra Cox 2. Totals 17-52 6-9 48.
Boys: Sequoyah 61, Keys 23
Sequoyah 16 25 13 7 61
Keys 7 1 3 12 23
SEQUOYAH: Caisen Green 20, B.J. Leach 11, Elijah Tucker 6, Kyle Sanders 5, Elan Eagle 4, Snow Eagle 3, Quinton Johnston 3, Nick Kingfisher 2, Brett Brown 2, Jacob Sevier 2,
Dakota Kahbeah 2, Tanner Wear 1.
KEYS: Coby Ward 7, Connor Hall 5, Chris Stayathome 4, Tristan Walker 2, Chance Weir 2, Preston Patrice 1, Ryne Foremon 1, Colton Cox 1.