By JASON EPP
Leader & Times
The Tyrone Bobcats showed their mettle down the stretch of a nip-and-tuck game to advance in the Area playoffs by defeating Leedey, 65-54.
Leedey knotted the seesaw game up at 49 by converting a 3-point play in the first minute of the fourth quarter. From that point on, Tyrone outscored Leedey 16-5 the rest of the way.
Leading 58-52 with less than four minutes left, the Bobcats went 8 of 10 at the free throw line, and made their final six attempts to take a 65-52 lead with 25 seconds left.
“I was most proud of the first three minutes of the game, the last three minutes of the first half, and the last three minutes of the game,” Bobcat coach Clay Witt said. “That’s where the game was won; those nine minutes put together.”
Tyrone had jumped out to an early 11-point lead and led 15-7 late in the first quarter. But Leedey ended the quarter with a three, and hit two more in a 15-3 run that put them up on the Bobcats, 22-18 with five minutes left in the first half. It was Leedey’s first lead of the game.
Tyrone answered with a 9-0 to retake the lead 27-22 with 3:20 left.
Leedey again retook the lead 29-27, but Tyrone score the final four of the half to go up 32-29 at the break.
“We jumped out really good at first,” Witt said. “It was a wild game of swings. The momentum would switch back and forth.”
Leedey led by five in the third, but a 3-point basket by Ethan Reece brought the Bobcats within one. Austin Olivas scored moments later (2:32 left in third) to give the lead back to Tyrone.
“That was when Payson (Slater) went out after getting banged up, and we had a smaller group out there and got up and down the court a few times,” Witt said. “We got it up the court and too the corner and Ethan was wide open and knocked it down. That was a big stretch for us. It really looked like the game was starting to get away from us.”
Tyrone never trailed again, and with the 11-point win advanced to face Lookeba-Sickles Saturday. If Tyrone wins Saturday, they will face the loser of the Forgan-Arnett game with a trip to the State Tournament on the line.
Olivas finished the game with a game-high 26 points, including three treys. Payson Slater added 17; Ethan Reece had 9.