COWETA — With a lead perhaps slipping away, J.T. Rich stepped forward for Coweta for his only basket of the game.
It was worth the wait.
Rich’s 3-pointer put the game away for Class 5A No. 10 Coweta in a 55-47 victory over No. 18 Glenpool on Friday night.
Coweta (9-3) led 34-18 at halftime and seemed to be cruising to an easy home victory as Glenpool struggled. But then the Warriors’ pressure defense in the second half kicked in, forcing turnovers, and suddenly it was game on.
Glenpool (7-6) narrowed the margin to 43-38 midway through the fourth quarter, and trailed just 48-44 with less than two minutes remaining.
Then Rich stepped up and canned a 3-pointer with 1:50 left, extending the margin to 51-44, and the game never got closer than six points the rest of the way.
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“J.T. has hit some tough shots for us,” said Coweta coach Brandon Maddux. “He’s one of our best defenders, if not the best. He knows he has the green light to shoot it from 3-point range if he’s open. We have confidence in him.”
Mason Ford scored 17 points to lead the Tigers, and Wyatt Thompson added 14 points. Ace Gilliam scored 21 points for the Warriors to lead all scorers, while teammate Chance Watesha added 16 points.
“It got a little bit closer than I wanted it to,” Maddux said. “I knew they would be scrappy coming in, but I thought they were the aggressors and the tougher team in the second half. Fortunately, we made enough plays down the stretch to win. We need to learn from this. We need to be the aggressors, we need to be the scrappiest team.”
Glenpool 64, Coweta 51 (girls): Aailiya Shawnee and Tyra McKannie scored 18 and 16 points, respectively, to lead the No. 11 Lady Warriors past No. 19 Coweta.
Glenpool (9-4) got out to a good start and never trailed, pulling away from Coweta (6-6) for the win while removing any second half suspense.
The 6-foot McKinnie was effective inside, while Shawnee was outstanding on the perimeter and driving to the basket. Glenpool coach Bobby Belveal knows what he has in those two terrific underclassmen.
“Tyra, she’s unbelievable,” Belveal said. “If there is a better freshman around, I’d like to see it. She does everything for us. She’s strong, she rebounds, she finished well around the basket, she defends and protects the rim around the basket. And all those wide-open shots you see us taking on the perimeter are because they are having to pay attention to her.
The 5-7 Shawnee came up with enough big plays to keep Coweta from closing the margin.
“I think Aaliyah is one of the top sophomores in the state,” Belveal said. “She can do it all. She has great body control, finishes great, around the rim, a great defensive player.”
Macee Matthews led all scorers with 19 points to pace the Lady Tigers.
COWETA 55, GLENPOOL 47 (boys)
Glenpool 7 11 14 15 — 47
Coweta 18 16 5 16 — 55
Glenpool: Gilliam 21, Watasha 16, Kimble 5, Gorbet 3, Haile 2.
Coweta: Ford 17, Thompson 14, Garrett 7, Pearson 6, Mackenzie 4, Brown 4, Rich 3.
GLENPOOL 64, COWETA 51 (girls)
Glenpool 17 18 10 19 — 64
Coweta 14 12 12 13 — 51
Glenpool: Shawnee 18, McKinnie 16, Bonin 9, Price 7, Winningham 6, Addington 4, Davis 3, Harvey 3.
Coweta: Matthews 19, Hilton 10, Eischen 10, Addington 5, Messinger 4, Winkle 3.