By BEN JOHNSON
LOCUST GROVE — The final three seconds between Keys and Locust Grove pretty much summed up the whole game. Sydni Rainbolt put up a shot from underneath the rim, the ball glanced off the rim and the rebound landed in the hands of Locust Grove’s Madison Davis.
The other 31 minutes and 57 seconds played out virtually the same way inside Pirate Arena.
Keys was unable to get shots to go through the net, which resulted in a 57-46 setback in the first round of the Bank of Locust Grove Invitational.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well inside the paint,” Keys coach Mickey Duncan said. “In the second half, I think Sydni is two for 16. We got the shots we wanted; we just have to do a better job of hitting those.”
Locust Grove, who lost 57-50 to Keys on Friday night, extracted some payback Tuesday evening and advanced to the tournament semifinals where Class 3A No. 4 Adair awaits.
“We were excited,” Locust Grove coach Justin Brown said, “and ready for payback.”
Davis led the way for the Lady Pirates, recording 24 points and eight rebounds. Davis — who only accounted for six points in Locust Grove’s loss to Keys five days ago — finished a highly efficient 10 of 16 from the field.
“She made a point right from the start,” Brown said of Davis. “She came out looking to score, and that was obvious.”
Painfully obvious for the Lady Cougars (6-6). Davis made three of her first four shots and recorded nine points in the opening eight minutes.
And it was the first quarter that buried Keys.
The Lady Cougars fell behind 9-0 before some fans had a chance to file in.
Yet, it managed to get worse for Keys after Ali Nolan knocked down a shot to make it 9-2. Locust Grove followed with a 10-0 run and eventually claimed a 21-6 advantage at the end of the first period.
“Definitely not the start we wanted,” Duncan said. “We’re a young team and we’re on the road, but we’ve got to have a better start than what we had. And (Locust Grove) couldn’t ask for a better start.”
Avoiding being blown out, Keys was able to hang in the second quarter with mostly reserves on the floor. With Rainbolt and Mylee Hewitt — Keys’ scoring leader this season — both on the bench, Rachel Lawrence, Lauren Stratton, Kayla Hunt and Morgan Drywater teamed up with Nolan to trim Locust Grove’s halftime lead to 33-20.
“I thought we got good contributions off our bench,” said Duncan, whose team turned the ball over 19 times in the game. “...I was kind of excited about that. If we can get that, and the production out of those two (Hewitt and Rainbolt), that’s going to make for a better ball game for us.”
Keys, trailing anywhere from 10 to 18 most of the second half, never got within single digits until the 1:21 mark of the fourth quarter.
Blame that on field-goal shooting. Keys finished 14 of 49 from the field in the game and 9 of 32 in the second half.
With Hewitt and Rainbolt limited to a combined 15 points, Nolan led Keys with 10 points. The Lady Cougars will take on Chouteau Friday in the consolation semifinals at 4:30 p.m.
Keys (boys) 40, Grove 32
Class 3A No. 10 Keys took advantage of Grove’s late scoring lull for a 40-32 win in the first round of the Bank of Locust Grove Invitational.
The Cougars (8-4) advance to take on Class 2A No. 8 Ketchum in the semifinals Thursday at 5:50 p.m.
Trevor Eubanks led the Cougars with 13 points, and Cody Cole added 12 points for Keys.
Grove’s Jake Spychalski scored a game-high 15 points and hauled in 10 rebounds. Tyler Busch chipped in with 11 points for the Ridgerunners.
The game, which Grove led 20-18 at halftime, featured seven lead changes in the second half.
The Cougars, though, dominated the glass in the second half, out-rebounding Grove 19-6 in the final 16 minutes. For the game, Keys beat Grove, 35-22, in the rebounding department.
Outscoring Grove 13-6 in the fourth quarter, Keys took control in the fourth quarter when Grove went the four minutes of the game with only two points.
Grove will take on Adair in the consolation semifinals on Friday.