Story and Photo by: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
Stat source: Scott Emigh and Morgan Miller, Staff
The No.14 ranked Charles Page High School varsity basketball team (14-6) won four games straight before seeing that streak come to an end at Sapulpa High School Chieftain Center Tuesday night.
Earlier this season Sand Springs defeated the No.11 Sapulpa team (16-4) 69-60 at home. Since then, both teams have given up losses to Owasso and Jenks, but where the Sandites fell 57-52 to Union, Sapulpa pulled off a two-point win.
Perhaps it was the home field advantage, but this time around it was Sapulpa with the 9 point rivalry win.
Sand Springs started in the hole from the get-go with Sapulpa senior Alex Ogunseye hitting two free throws and a layup for a 4-0 Chieftain advantage. The Sandite hero of the night, sophomore Colt Savage, put up two, but Sapulpa freshman Julian Smith sank a three soon after.
The biggest problem of the night for Sand Springs was accuracy. While Savage impressed with a 67% field goal rate, when you remove him from the equation the team accuracy drops to only 32%.
Junior Kyle Keener missed back-to-back point blank field goals before sophomore Brooks Haddock finally sent the rebound in for two. Julian Smith and Sandite senior Arvionte Nichols each added two, then Keener had back to back layups for the first lead of the game for Sand Springs.
That's when junior Keenan Ballance showed up with a pair of threes and Ogunseye slammed a dunk at the buzzer to carry a 19-13 lead into the second quarter.
Savage hit the first basket of the second period, but Ballance scored 8 straight and Sapulpa held a double digit halftime advantage at 35-25.
At one point Sapulpa led by a much as 18 before Sand Springs went on a 9-0 run by Savage and Haddock. Smith hit a free throw and a layup to break the streak, but Sand Springs went right back at it with a freebie by Nichols, a layup by Fort Hayes State football commit Jacob Taber, and back-to-back threes from Savage to narrow it to 48-45.
Haddock sent senior Khaleel Marshall to the line to shoot two. Marshall shot one-for-two, but Savage sank a two to make it a two-point gap for the first time in three periods.
The Sandites were on the verge of rallying for an incredible come-from-behind victory when Savage fouled out with 1:52 left to play. Without their top player of the night, Sand Springs slipped back into the deficit as their rivals avenged themselves with a final score of 58-49.
Sand Springs will return to action Friday night at No.5 Union (16-4) with only three games left before Regionals.