By JASON EPP
Two early plays seemed to seal the fate of the Turpin Cardinals who lost to No.1 Garber 61-36.
First Garber’s Tyler Miller hit 6’7” Hayden Venci for the alley-oop slam to start the game’s scoring. Next, Turpin’s Konner Hood, who has been the Cardinals catalyst all season, injured his knee less than two minutes into the game and never reentered the game.
“I feel worse for Konner than I do about the loss,” said Cardinals coach Gary Wallace. “Even though it happened right in front of me, I didn’t really see what happened. He just jumped at a ball and came down wrong.”
These two plays seemed to leave Turpin in disarray as the Cardinals were held without a point in the first quarter, trailing 13-0.
“The lob play, I think, intimidated our guys a little. But after they got up, we started to settle down and play ball.”
Turpin fell behind further, 23-6, but outscored the Wolverines 8-2 to end the half to cut the lead back to 11 at the break.
Garber began the second half with a 6-0 run to double up the Cards at 31-15. Turpin was able to score in the third after the two minute drought, but was unable to stop the hot-shooting Wolverines.
Keifer Hood, who finished with 12 points, hit his fourth three of the game from 30 feet out to end the third and make the score 43-28 heading to the fourth.
“I was fine with our defense in the third,” said Wallace. “We were forcing them to take tough shot, but they’re good, and they made a bunch of them.”
With around six minutes left in the game, Wallace pulled his starters and key reserves knowing that a miracle comeback was improbable, and rest for tomorrow’s game was of prime importance now.
But he was still left pondering, what if.
“They are a good team and worthy of their ranking,” said Wallace. “But I would have loved to have seen our team play them at full strength.”
Turpin (20-6) will play Panhandle 6 Conference foe Texhoma for the fifth time this season, with the series tied at two a piece. The rubber match will decide which team will make it to the state tournament.
“Hopefully, it’s us,” said Wallace.