Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

February 2, 2013

Fort Gibson teams pull off season sweep of Keys

PARK HILL — It was the kind of pressure cooker you want to be able to survive as the postseason draws near.

For the Fort Gibson Tigers, things got very uncomfortable before they were able to right the ship and hang on for a 52-47 win against the Keys Cougars Friday night at the Keys Field House.

Throughout most of the contest, the Tigers were in control, leading by 26-15 at the half and 42-28 after three quarters.

Then the Cougars pounced.

Keys picked up the defensive pressure while outscoring the Tigers 8-2 in the opening three minutes of the final quarter to cut the margin to 44-36. In an effort to slow the Cougars’ momentum, Coach Gary Hendrix put his Tigers (16-3) in a spread offense with four minutes to play.

“They do such a good job defensively that we were having trouble scoring,” he said. ”My idea was to spread things out and maybe open up some lanes to the basket. But when they applied pressure in their zone trap, we turned the ball over instead of getting the easy shots.”

The turnovers proved costly as Keys (10-9) rattled off six unanswered points, capped by a steal and layup by the Cougars’ Cody Cole to make it 46-42 with a minute to play. Keys was forced to foul and the Tigers’ Jordan Hill stepped up to the line for a one-and-one opportunity with 50 seconds left to play.

“On that first free throw, it rolled everywhere around the rim and then went in and I was like ‘Wow, how did that happen?’”  Hill said. “The next one went right in and it felt good. It was a lot of pressure and that’s what I need now.”

The Tigers’ other Jordan — Jordan London — also stepped up and knocked down a pair of free throws with 20 seconds left to ice the win.

“I was proud of our kids for making some plays when we had to at the end and held on in a tough road environment,” said Hendrix, whose club swept two regular-season matchups with Keys.

On the other side, Keys coach Duane Jones was equally proud on his crew for battling Class 4A’s seventh-ranked team, despite not having one of their leading scorers and top rebounder in Payton Ragsdale.

“I was really proud of our defensive effort in that last quarter,” Jones said. “We got some steals and made it a close contest.”

Hill led the Tigers with 16 points while Zack Lindley contributed 12 points and Ned Adair had 10. The Cougars were led by Trevor Eubanks with 13 points and Cole added 10.

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