By JASON EPP
High Plains Daily Leader
TURPIN — It was a thrilling game that went down to the wire, and after a timeout with 13 seconds left, Texhoma put the ball in the hands of the night’s top scorer, J.D. Pugh (27points). Pugh drove past Turpin’s Braydon Robinson and let the ball fall from his fingertips and in with less than five seconds left to give Texhoma a 53-51 lead.
Pugh also intercepted the Cardinals deep inbounds pass, and the celebration began for the Red Devils. Texhoma avenged and early season loss to the Cardinals, and won one of the most exciting games in the panhandle this season.
“I thought it was two great teams playing each other,” said Texhoma coach Gary Higgins. “We had the ball there at the very end. We made our runs, they made their runs. (J. D.) Pugh got his shot. He got all the way to the rim.”
Turpin’s head coach Gary Wallace was understandably disappointed with his team’s defense at the end.
“We were in a zone and we were supposed to close down,” Turpin coach Gary Wallace said. “We knew who was going to take the shot. It was either going to be Pugh with the ball, and if he did anything with it he was going to throw it to (Matt) Freeman. For some reason we didn’t close it down.”
In a game that saw seven lead changes and three ties, Texhoma got the first big run of the game when Matt Freeman hit four consecutive threes in less than two minutes. Those shots made a 10-9 game 22-9 with less than a minute left in the first quarter.
Turpin answered back with an 18-2 run thanks to their quick defense that picked up steals and led to transition baskets for Konner and Keifer Hood. The two combined for 16 points during that stretch.
“We came out hot, Matt had four (threes) straight and some of them were pretty deep,” said Higgins. “But then we had a let down when we were up ten. They came back and tied us. They are a good team they are going to do that.
Texhoma ended a six minute scoring drought and regained the lead at 28-27 in the final minutes of the first half. Turpin’s Aaron Kuns got in foul trouble when he picked up his second and third fouls within 12 seconds of each other.
Early in the third period, Pugh was called for a charge, his third foul and had to go to the bench. Turpin took advantage and went on an 11-2 run to take a 38-32 lead with 3:33 left. Turpin stretched their lead to nine, but Pugh hit another clutch shot hitting a three as time expired in the third quarter.
“When he came back in we were trying to go at him (Pugh), and I didn’t think we got the ball in enough on him,” said Wallace. We talked about it, but we didn’t get it done. We’ve got to learn to attack the guy in foul trouble better.”
That three started a 12-0 run for Texhoma that helped them regain the lead at 47-46 when Skylor Rodriguez hit one-of-two from the free throw line. The foul that sent him there, sent Kuns to the bench for the rest of the game with his fifth foul.
Cale Longhofer scored in the paint with 1:57 to give the Cardinals a 48-47 lead, but Rodriguez took it back with a basket with 1:42 left.
Leading by one and in the double bonus, Texhoma forced Turpin to foul. Pugh was fouled and hit both to give Texhoma a 51-48 lead with 51 seconds left.
Longhofer scored again in the paint and was fouled. He tied the game at the free throw line with 31.4 left. Pugh took it from there.
For Texhoma, it was their two big scorers with Pugh finishing with 27, and Freeman hitting five threes for 15.
Turpin was led by Konner Hood with 19. Cale Longhofer and Keifer Hood each had 9, while Braydon Robinson and Aaron Kuns each finished with 8.
Texhoma is now 13-2 on the season and will their county rival Hooker Tuesday.
Turpin falls to 11-4, and will host county rival Beaver Tuesday.
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