PARK HILL -- Keys sent Oktaha home with a loss after hosting a game Friday night, improving their record to 6-2.
Emma McCurtain returned to the court for the first time this season after injuring her wrist in the preseason. McCurtain was a starter from last year's team and made an impact in the fourth quarter to help the Lady Cougars secure a 47-42 win.
The Lady Cougars went on a scoring tear in the first quarter. Kylie Eubanks and Ashlynn Berry combined for 13 of the team's 19 points and held the Lady Tigers to only 10 in the opening quarter.
However, the bonus allowed the Lady Tigers to creep back into the game. They went 11-12 from the free-throw line in the second quarter and chipped into the Lady Cougars lead, making it 31-26 going into halftime.
The Lady Cougars had trouble hitting open shots in the third quarter, but they held onto a 35-31 lead entering the final quarter.
"When things weren't going that great, when we got into foul trouble and shots weren't going, I felt like we did a great job still trying to compete and keep shooting," said Springwater.
Oktaha hit a 3-pointer to start the final quarter, but McCurtain gave Keys a five-point cushion after back-to-back scores in the post and gave her team an offensive spark.
"Emma came back tonight," said head coach Jami Springwater. "She did struggle, but I felt like at the end she got her shot going, got some rebounds and came in at the end of the game when we really needed her to step up. I felt like she did a really good job."
A foul on Eubanks put the Lady Cougars into the bonus with only a two-point lead and 31.6 seconds left on the clock. She went on to make three of her next four free throws and swatted a 3-point attempt to seal the team's first win of 2020.
Berry led the team in scoring with 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. Eubanks scored 11 points and 5 rebounds. All four of McCurtain's points came in the final quarter to go along with 6 rebounds and two blocks.
Keys will host 3A No. 1 Sequoyah Tuesday night at 6 p.m. to try and avenge the loss during the season opener. Sequoyah is 10-1 coming off a 56-36 win over 3A No. 3 Adair and winning the Mid-America Classic over winter break.
Cougars 63, Tigers 38
Keys improves to 4-4 after sending 2A No. 18 Oktaka with their second loss of the season. Consistent offensive performance and sound defense carried Keys to a 63-38 win, the first time Keys has scored over 60 points in a game all season.
The Cougars held the Tigers down 13-6 in the first quarter led behind Bryce Sanders seven points.
Throughout the beginning of the season the Cougars had trouble scoring and relied on their defense but placing Sanders into the starting lineup provided the team with a spark on offense. He continued to score in the second quarter, adding on five more points and leading the team to a 32-16 lead at halftime.
Sanders and Lane Taylor ran the Cougars' offense during football season and carried it over into the basketball season. Taylor received more playing time after winter break, allowing him and Sanders to combine for 13 points in the third quarter to extend their lead 52-29 heading to the final quarter.
The Cougars slowed down the pace in the final quarter, drained the clock and earned their fourth win of the season.
"Overall, it's one of the better games we put together for four quarters," said head coach Greg Barnes. "Even with the baskets they got, we contested pretty well, and I was pleased with our defense tonight."
Sanders led the team in scoring with 20 points. Gage Barnes scored 11 points for the Cougars. Riley Kimble finished the night with eight points. All of Taylor's six points came during the third-quarter run.
Keys will host 3A No. 2 Sequoyah Tuesday night following the girl's game. Sequoyah is 6-2 and coming off a 65-58 loss to 3A No. 18 Adair.