PARK HILL -- Keys swept Vian Friday night in Park Hill after beating the team 47-38. The Class 3A No. 19 Lady Cougars improve to 16-6 and clinched their spot as co-champions of their conference with Central Sallisaw, their first conference championship since 2010. The Class 3A Lady Wolverines fell to 12-10.
"It's always a big thing when you have to face someone three times," said Springwater. "Coming into the game tonight I told the girls to be ready because we played them it was within five points at the Checotah Tournament and I felt like they got closer to us last game."
The Lady Cougars defensively dominated the first half of the game. The team was communicating on defense and stealing the ball for fast break opportunities. Kylie Eubanks scored six of the team's 10 first-quarter points while Emma McCurtain and Trinity Ward made a field goal, giving the Lady Cougars a 10-8 lead over the Lady Wolverines.
McCurtain put up six points in the second quarter, but the Lady Cougars' defense is what separated themselves from their opponent. The Lady Wolverines' only points during the second quarter came from a pair of free throws and trailed 23-10 going into halftime.
McCurtain put up a clinic in the third quarter, scoring 10 points in eight minutes while being the team's defensive anchor. However, the Lady Wolverines chipped into the Lady Cougars' lead but still trailed 38-27 entering the final quarter. Ashlynn Berry buried a 3-pointer as time expired.
"I feel like Emma McCurtain did a great job playing center for us tonight," said Springwater. "The last time she played against them she didn't play as well, but tonight I felt like she hit her potential that she had."
The Lady Cougars passed the ball around to get the shot they want without forcing a bad shot. Four different players scored for the team while they closed out the Lady Wolverines despite being outscored 11-9.
McCurtain led the game with 20 points while collecting 12 rebounds and a pair of blocks. Eubanks had 15 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Keys will celebrate Senior Night starting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday when they face Class 3A No. 1 Adair. It will be the team's final regular-season game before they host districts Friday when they play Kansas.
Cougars continue hot streak: Keys won their fifth straight game, their longest streak of the season, and got revenge for their loss to Vian from Jan. 17. Keys won 49-41 over Vian Friday night at home but fell to Vian 37-36 in overtime earlier in the season.
The Class 3A Cougars improved to 13-9 and dropped the Class 3A No. 19 Wolverines to 16-6.
The team scored with consistency in the first half. Riley Kimble knocked down a pair of 3-pointers while Scotty Wolff and Logan Yanez combined to score eight points to give the Cougars a 14-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Kimble, Gage Barnes and Levi Troyer each made a 3 in the second quarter. The Cougars had a 25-16 lead entering the second half, but the lead could have been larger if they could have taken advantage of their trips to the free-throw line. The team went 2-6 from the line in the first half.
Yanez took over scoring duties in the second half. He 13 of the Cougars' 14 points in the second half, which includes a 3-pointer and going 6-7 from the free-throw line. Yanez's performance extended the team's lead to 38-23 over the Wolverines.
The Wolverines made a dent in the Cougars' lead over the final eight minutes. They outscored the Cougars 18-11, but the Cougars played conservative basketball over the final three minutes to drain the clock and seal their fifth-straight win.
Yanez scored the game-high 17 points. Kimble scored 11 points while Gage Barnes and Wolff each scored six points.
Head coach Greg Barnes was happy with the team's offensive consistency during their win over Vian, but he still has things the team needs to clean up before hosting districts Friday. He wants the team to be more consistent from the free-throw line and cut back on the turnovers.
"The only knock on us was that I think we missed a few too many free throws and our goal is to keep our turnovers at 10," said Greg Barnes. "I think if we can stay at 10 and under, we have a chance to beat people going into the playoffs and we had 15 tonight which is a few more than I'd like to have."
Keys will host Class 3A No. 8 Adair Tuesday night following the girls' game. Tuesday night is also the teams' final regular-season game and their Senior Night.