By NICK HAMPTON
PARK HILL — Size overcame 3-point shooting here Tuesday as the Keys Cougars beat Hilldale 46-33 in the boys season opener for both teams, managing a split after Hilldale’s girls won the opener of the twinbill.
Trailing 19-16 at the half, mostly on the 3-point shooting by Bill Muse Jr. (who was 3-for-5 beyond the arc), the Cougars began pounding the ball inside to 6-foot-6 forward Peyton Ragsdale and outscored the Hornets 16-6 in the third quarter to lead 32-25.
Meanwhile, they slowed Muse down from 3-point land, although the talented sophomore still had eight more points and finished the game with 17 to lead Hilldale.
“I told the kids I thought we rebounded well considering the size disadvantage we faced,” said Hilldale coach Jeremy Rogers. “You can’t hold a good team like that to much less than 46 points, but you can’t win many games at this level scoring only 33 points.
“I was proud of the kids because the effort and hustle were there. We’ve just got to get better offensively.”
Ragsdale, who helped take Keys to the state quarterfinals last season, scored 11 points but also had that may rebounds and seven blocked shots on the night.
“I was pretty well pleased with the composure our guys showed after being down at halftime,” said Keys coach Duane Jones. “Peyton and Mason Turman really controlled the game inside. They’re going to be force to be reckoned with this season”
Besides Ragsdale, Trevor Eubanks, another returner from last season had 13 points to lead the Cougars (1-0). For the Hornets (0-1), Jordan Proctor was in double figures along with Muse with 11 points on the night.
Hilldale 47, Keys 43 (girls)
For the Lady Hornets, it was their ability to stop the 3-point shooting of Keys’ Mylee Hewitt in the second half that helped them to victory. Hewitt canned four treys in the first half, but was shut out in the second half.
But the night belonged to freshman Katie Kirkhart, daughter of football coach Chad Kirkhart, who scored 17 points in leading the Lady Hornets to the win.
“She (Kirkhart) is going to be a good little player for us,” said a very pleased Hilldale coach Scott Hensley. “She’s got a lot to work on still, but she’ll be a good little player for use.”
Defense was the name of the game in the second half for the Lady Hornets (1-0) as they concentrated on shutting down Hewitt.
“We said in the locker room at halftime, no more for her,” said Hensley. “We had Hillary Calvert and she did a heck of a job and then we put Katie on her and Destiny Riddle also guarded her some and did a good job.”
The Hornets will travel to Oologah Friday for their next action.