Two of the state's marquee football players, Cascia Hall's Conner Sherwood and Wagoner's Kevin Peterson, competed against each other in a high school athletic contest for the first time on Friday night.
"I wish I could have congratulated him (Peterson) on going to OSU and maybe talked a little football with him," said Sherwood, a University of Tulsa signee. "But the game was really kind of too intense to be making friends with the other team."
Sherwood, the Tulsa World's metro readers player of the year, and Peterson, the World's state player of the year, were recruited as defensive players in college so it was apropos Friday's Class 4A district playoff game at Cascia turned into a defensive duel.
After Wagoner tied the game, 10th-ranked Cascia held the Bulldogs to three points over the final five minutes to prevail 52-48. Saxon Bryant had the tiebreaking basket with 1:02 left.
"Defense doesn't just win championships in football, but we say that in basketball, too," said Sherwood, who helped Cascia win 3A state football titles in 2008 and '09 and reach the title game in 2011.
Sherwood had 13 points and 11 rebounds while Bryant produced 11 points and 11 rebounds to snap the Bulldogs' nine-game win streak. Kerwin Thomas paced Wagoner with 14 points while Peterson scored six and had five assists. Both helped Wagoner win the 4A state football title in December.
Cascia (17-6) advances to play Saturday's Fort Gibson-Glenpool winner in a regional winners bracket game on Thursday at Fort Gibson while Wagoner (15-8) will play the Fort Gibson-Glenpool loser in an elimination game on Thursday at Fort Gibson.
"All of us who have been ranked in the top 10 like to think we're going to have an easy one in our first (playoff) game," Cascia coach Brian Rahilly said. "But there's no complaining there. We're two kind of football schools and it takes a while to get your sea-legs and everybody is ranking you on your December performance. Both of us are losing games in December that there's no way we lose if we're at full strength. We knew who we were and what to expect. It was a dogfight."
Wagoner, which trailed by 14 in the second quarter, went on an 8-0 run in the first half's final minute to trail only 30-26. The Bulldogs then opened the second half with six straight points to take the lead. Cascia, however, responded, with an 11-2 run.
After Sherwood's basket gave Cascia a 45-38 lead early in the fourth quarter, Wagoner went on a 7-0 run and tied the game on Roy Thomas' basket. Cascia's Caleb Frizzell's basket provided the only points for four minutes until Roy Thomas' basket tied it again at 47 with 1:15 left. Thirteen seconds later, Bryant drove for the go-ahead basket as he was set up by Luke Moellers.
Roy Thomas made a free throw, but missed the second with 12.7 seconds left and Bryant grabbed the rebound before being fouled. Bryant made 1-of-2 free throws to make it 50-48. Wagoner, however, could not launch a shot on its ensuing possession as Cascia's Nick Wood came up with an interception and was fouled. His two free throws with 1.6 seconds left sealed the outcome.
Cascia Hall 69, Wagoner 48 (girls): Jaime Rahilly had 23 points and eight rebounds to propel the Commandos (13-10) past the Bulldogs (5-17).
Liesl Spoerl and Reagan Derr added 17 points for Cascia. Derr made her first 13 free throws before missing on her last attempt.
Callie Jones paced Wagoner with 18 points, and Arlandria Freeman scored 15 for Wagoner.
CASCIA HALL 52, WAGONER 48 (BOYS)
Wagoner 12 14 12 10 — 48
Cascia Hall 16 14 13 9 — 52
Wagoner (15-8): K.Thomas 14, R.Thomas 9, Clayton 7, Peterson 6, Clark 6, Ferrell 3, Hurst 3.
Cascia Hall (17-6): Sherwood 13, Bryant 11, Frizzell 9, Wood 9, Rouse 5, Moellers 3, Choquette 2.
CASCIA HALL 69, WAGONER 48 (girls)
Wagoner 3 12 16 17 — 48
Cascia Hall 13 21 10 25 — 69
Wagoner (5-17): Jones 18, Freeman 15, Ridge 7, Garrison 6, Emmons 2.
Cascia Hall (13-10): Rahilly 23, Derr 17, Spoerl 17, Baldeck 6, Jordan 4, Stagg 2.
Barry Lewis 918-581-8393
Original Print Headline: Sherwood, Cascia down Wagoner