Keys defeated Liberty in dominating fashion during the final day of the Warner Eagle Cherokee Classic consolation bracket. A dominant third quarter compounded by their first-half put Keys out of reach.
Sound defense and a well-executed offensive strategy allowed the Cougars to push past the Tigers, 46-20, improving their record to 6-6 overall under head coach Greg Barnes.
“After last night going into three overtimes, I was a little afraid of how we’d come out today,” Barnes said. “The boys came out and they were really focused, played hard, and there was no mental lapse. After losing a tough one last night, I thought we might come out a drag around, but we didn’t do that at all.”
The Tigers played the Cougars close at the start, but Logan Yanez hit two 3-pointers to give the Cougars a 10-7 lead in the first quarter.
A dominant Cougars’ defensive performance held the Tigers to only four points in the second quarter. Meanwhile, Yanez continued to cook up points and led the Cougars to a 22-11 lead at halftime.
The Cougars continued to dominate the game in the third quarter. The Tigers were held to only two points while the Cougars scored 20 points to put the game out of reach, taking a 42-13 lead in the third quarter before running out the clock with their possessions during the final quarter.
Yanez scored the game-high 17 points during the win over Liberty. Riley Kimble scored eight points, all coming from the third quarter. Gage Barnes finished the game with five points.
Keys is looking to win back-to-back games for the first time this season and they will have a chance facing 3-4 2A Central Sallisaw. The game will tip off following the girl’s game.
Lady Cougars stumble in tournament final: Keys won its first two games of the Warner Eagle Cherokee Classic but fell short in Saturday’s championship game in a 36-29 setback to 3A No. 10 Eufaula.
The Lady Cougars (8-4) started the game with a 13-7 lead over the Lady Ironheads. Ashlynn Berry hit a 3-pointer and the team went 4-4 from the free throw line in the first quarter.
However, the second quarter did not go as planned for the Lady Cougars. They were outscored 14-4 and turned the ball over too often, which allowed the Lady Ironheads to take a 21-17 lead at halftime after having a six-point lead at the end of the first.
“The second quarter is where we fell off on scoring,” said Keys head coach Jami Springwater. “We had some turnover that hurt us, and they took advantage of those possessions and scored. The game got split away right there.”
The Lady Cougars played sound defense in the third quarter, but they were unable to generate offense, aside from Kylie Eubanks’ five points in the quarter. The Lady Ironheads maintained a 26-22 lead.
Eubanks continued to score in the final quarter, chipping in another five points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit.
Keys had trouble getting to the free throw line, only making the trip once after going 4-4 in the opening quarter while Eufaula went 8-12 from the line throughout the game. The difference in attempts played a role in Keys’ loss in the championship final.
Eubanks was one of the six players to be named on the All-Tournament team for her performance throughout the tournament. She had an assist, five rebounds, two steals and led the team with 10 points. Berry had seven points, four assists, five rebounds, and a steal.
Lady Cougars 43, Lady Eagles 30 (Friday)
The day before the loss in the championship final, Keys outscored Warner by a 13-point margin, allowing them to advance to the final round. Emma McCurtain’s presence during her first start of the season pushed the Lady Cougars over the Lady Eagles and earned a 43-30 win.
Trinity Ward started the game with a 3-pointer. McCurtain went on the score six points and tie the game 9-9 during the first quarter.
The Lady Cougars began to separate from the Lady Eagles, outscoring them by four points and taking an 18-14 lead into halftime.
“I felt like our team ran the floor very well in the second quarter, and that’s what allowed us to break away from them,” said Springwater. “They’re not as deep as we are, so that’s another factor we had in our favor. The girls did a really good job executing the strategy for tonight.”
Ward scored four points in the third quarter, the most of any Lady Cougar in the quarter, allowing the team to extend their lead to 29-23.
Eubanks and Berry sealed the game, scoring a combined 12 points in the final minutes of the game to guarantee a spot in the final round.
Eubanks scored the team-high 11 points and added four rebounds. McCurtain had nine points, a pair of blocks, eight rebounds, and a steal. Ward had five points to go along with her seven points.