Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

December 18, 2013

Tahlequah takes 2 from Pryor in MLC action

The Tahlequah boys basketball team held off a furious fourth-quarter rally to defeat Pryor 69-62 Tuesday night inside the Tahlequah Multipurpose Activities Center in a Metro Lakes Conference contest.

Tahlequah (2-3, 1-1 Metro Lakes) entered the fourth quarter with a comfortable 45-33 cushion and was able to sustain that same 12-point margin all the way until a Hunter Smith layup with 3:23 left gave the team a 59-47 advantage.

Tahlequah was coasting toward the finish line until Pryor (1-4, 0-1 MLC) used a 13-3 run in a little more than a minute’s time that seemingly came from nowhere to pull within 62-60 with 1:51 remaining. The revved-up Pryor team sputtered late, however, as Tahlequah won what turned into a free-throw battle in the game’s final minutes.

“We played an excellent first half to take a 13-point lead at intermission. We played A-plus basketball in that first half,” Tahlequah coach Pat Dotson said. “We knew they were going to make a run at us because they are a quality team, but we’re getting better at closing out games and we were able to do that tonight.”

Matt Alberty finished with a game-high 30 points and 11 rebounds in 27 minutes. He was 8-for-14 from the field and 11-for-15 at the free-throw line. Will Carlile added 16 points, and both Jake Vader and Keith Washington pulled down 10 rebounds for the home Tigers.

“Matt is a guy that’s put in a proper summer, and it was great to have him in there at full stride,” Dotson said. “Dalton Cunningham, our lead guy, couldn’t get it going tonight on the offensive side of the ball, but he affected the game with his defense and his leadership.”

Tahlequah was 21-for-65 (32 percent) from the field, 4-for-15 (27 percent) from behind the three-point line and 23-for-37 (62 percent) at the charity stripe. Pryor shot at a 28-percent clip from the field (15-for-53), while going just 2-for-16 (13 percent) from downtown and connecting on 30-of-41 (73 percent) from the free-throw line. Tahlequah outrebounded Pryor 54-44.

Robert Ross led the visiting Tigers with 20 points. He was 5-for-11 from the field and made all nine free-throw attempts. Tyler Bradshaw added 11 points.

The official clock operator nearly cost Tahlequah, as 12 seconds of game action was played with the clock frozen at 55 seconds left in regulation. Neither the referees, coaches nor clock operator corrected the error, so an extra 12 seconds was played in the game. Luckily for the home Tigers, they were able to avoid letting the timing error cost them a victory.

“I don’t have a comment on that,” Dotson said. “It’s early in the season for everybody.”

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