Kialo Vann

Kialo Vann (right) and the Sequoyah Indians knocked off Class 6A No. 4 Muskogee Monday night in the first round of the Tournament of Champions.

TULSA – In a clash between two of the top basketball teams in the area, Travis Sanders’ last-second put-back gave the Sequoyah Indians a 65-63 win over the Muskogee Roughers in the first round of the Tournament of Champions at the Expo Square Pavilion in Tulsa Monday night.

In a game that featured the quick guards of Sequoyah versus Muskogee’s inside strengths, it was Sanders who muscled inside to put back Terran Pettit’s missed 3 with eight seconds left for the winning margin.

The basket spoiled a furious last-minute rally by the Roughers (4-2), who went into the matchup as the fourth-ranked team in Class 6A. Muskogee trailed 61-54 with just over three minutes to play, but a steal and bucket by Rougher big man Oren Faulk tied the game with 24 seconds to play.

“The play was designed for us to get that weakside rebound if we missed the shot,” Sequoyah head coach Larry Grigg said. “It worked just the way we wanted.”

Offensive rebounding and inside scoring got the Roughers back into the game after trailing 33-26 at the half. Faulk had 15 of his game-high 23 points in the final two quarters while also grabbing six of his nine rebounds. Overall the Roughers outrebounded the Indians 16-8 in the second half.

The Indians countered with pressure defense and three point shooting. Sequoyah (6-1) drained nine threes on the night while forcing 22 Rougher turnovers. “The main thing for us was effort,” Grigg said. “We haven’t played that well so far this season but tonight our kids played hard and it showed.”

The guard duo of Pettit and Ramsey Butler combined for 33 points for the Indians, including five three pointers. Finding themselves trailing 15-9 early in the second quarter, it was Pettit and Butler who came up with seven straight points as the Indians surged into the lead on a 10-0 run. After the Roughers tied the game at 26 the Indians closed the half with a 7-0 run capped by a three from Cody Fourkiller with less than 10 seconds left in the half .

The Indians stretched their lead to as much as 10 halfway through the third quarter, but the Roughers, led by Faulk, stormed back to tie the game at 44. Faulk had nine points in the quarter, but two late Sequoyah baskets gave the Indians a 48-44 lead heading into the final frame.

After Muskogee briefly surged back into the lead for the first time since the second quarter, the Indians launched a 9-2 run as Butler and Pettit knocked down back-to-back threes to take a 57-51 lead.

But Faulk refused to quit, eventually tying the game before Sanders’ heroics. “It’s a pretty exciting win for us,” said Sanders, who finished with 10 points and three rebounds. “We’re not intimidated by anybody.”

The Indians advance to Tuesday night’s semifinals where they will take on the Booker T Washington Hornets, who easily defeated two-time defending Class 2A state champions Pawnee 57-39. The Indians and Hornets will tip off at 8:30.

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