By JASON EPP
The Turpin Cardinals made enough crucial free throws down the stretch to hold off any late threat of a comeback to win 56-45 over the Beaver Dusters.
It was very much a back-and-forth game with neither team able to get a significant run to take complete control of the game. In fact, Turpin’s 9-2 run midway through the second quarter was the games largest.
“It was just a real hard fought game for us, which is normal with Beaver County Bedlam,” said Beaver coach Brian Stalder “I thought our kids played hard, it wasn’t an effort problem. I think if we would have taken care of the ball at a couple points in the game and not turn it over and led them get a spread, I thought that was the difference.”
Turpin’s head coach Gary Wallace was also pleased with his team’s effort.
“We gave good effort and I was happy with that. Defensively they did some different things that we had a little trouble with. Offensively I was happy I thought we attacked all night.”
Beaver had their chances to make a move in the second half, but were hurt by poor foul shooting (6-of-14) that could have changed the game. The fouls also put Turpin in a pickle with their top three post options in foul trouble late in the third.
“They got some buckets off some turnovers,” said Stalder and we didn’t get those buckets off of turnovers, and that’s where the spread of the game happened. Free throw line could have helped us.”
But Beaver was unable to capitalize, and it was actually two Dusters, Sam Decker and Cole Trippet, fouling out late in the contest.
Both teams started out hot from beyond the arc, as the two combined for six threes in the first quarter as Turpin took a slim 15-13 lead.
Turpin extended their lead in the second quarter to 24-16 on Keifer Hood’s fourth trey of the night with 3:09 left in the first half, and led at the break 29-20.
The Dusters got within six on three separate occasions in the second half, but could not close the final gap.
Free throw shooting played a huge role in the outcome with Turpin making 21 of 32 (66 percent), and Beaver making only 9 of 23 (39 percent).
“That game was a battle,” said Wallace “That was a great game for us to get ready for the playoffs. especially what we did late, holding the ball and to stall. Make people put us on the line and make our free throws. Our guards are so talented and we have to take advantage of that.”
Turpin’s Keifer Hood was the game’s top scorer with 17, including five treys. Konner Hood tallied 13, Braydon Robinson 9, and Aaron Kuns 8.
Beaver was led by Samuel Becker with 13, Cole Trippet with 10 and Jacob Bridwell with 9.
Turpin is now 12-4 and will play Hardesty, Thursday at 5:15 p.m., in the first round of the Texhoma Tournament Beaver is off this weekend and will host Hooker next Tuesday.