Down big, Lady Cougars battle back

The 3A No. 11 girl's battled from down 15 down to knock off tournament host Warner 55-44 Saturday evening. The Cougars were paced by Kylie Eubanks with 22 points and Sierra Winkler had 17.

It was an off night for Eubanks according to head coach Rick Kirkhart, but was likely Winkler's best game of her high school career.

"They doubled my point guard Ashlynn Berry all night and held her to only eight points," Kirkhart said. "Kylie slowed herself down by missing six layups; she could of had 30 points and Sierra had big, huge points for us."

Keys had a slow start to the game but chipped away tying the game midway through the third quarter thanks to a 10-0 run. Kirkhart said he credits his team's ability to keep their composure.

At halftime, he made the switch to a high-low offense rather than a four-out. With the primary ball handler, Berry, stifled Keys was out of sync and struggled to shoot from distance. Once they got Warner's bigs in foul trouble it was able to get on a roll.

"This win moves us to 6-0 and gives us momentum for next week when we play at Sallisaw Central and meet Vian plus Gore. It's going to be a week of tests," Kirkhart said.

The game at Sallisaw Central is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Cougars storm ahead as one cohesive unit

The boy's won their first tournament under third-year head coach Greg Barnes steamrolling Wilburton 55-36. The on-court chemistry and willingness to share the wealth was evident as six players scored six-plus points.

It was led by new-to-Keys forward Levi Williams with 13 points and Jackson Tarrance netted 10 points himself.

Keys only outscored Wilburton in the first and third stanzas but allowed two points in each 10-minute period. The ability to drive the lane, find outlet passes through the full-court press and grab offensive rebounds resulting in second-chance points never let go of the lead.

"We got off to a good start and were able to get out in transition," Barnes said. "Wilburton went to a 2-3 zone and we got sloppy in the second quarter, but eventually had better possessions and got through traps."

Barnes said his guards' ability to handle the press and slip passes through it for easy interior buckets for his big men was the key to victory.

"These guys really like playing together and nobody can look at us and we 'if we stop that guy they can't do anything,'" Barnes said. "Everyone on the team can step up and we've all bought into the fact that we have to play good defense to win."

Due to the finals of the Haskell Tournament during the Thanksgiving holiday being canceled on account of positive COVID-19 tests Keys felt like they were missing something on the season. They are now ready to charge ahead with increased confidence into a three-game stretch this week. The first game is at Sallisaw Central with tip scheduled for 7:30 pm. Tuesday.

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