Roland squads sweep home NOAA Conference games from Sallisaw
The Roland High School basketball teams swept a pair of home NOAA Conference games against Sallisaw on Tuesday night at the Ranger Dome.
The Lady Rangers opened the night with 42-28 win over the Lady Diamonds, then the Running Rangers won their 10th straight game as they pulled away late for a 60-41 victory over the Black Diamonds.
ROLAND 42, SALLISAW 28
A 3-point basket by Sallisaw guard Emma Martin tied the game at 5-all with 4:17 left in the opening period, but the Lady Rangers (143 overall, 4-2 in NOAA Conference play) ended the quarter on a 6-0 run, thanks to a 3-pointer by each Kynlei Earnhart and Haven Freeman, to put Roland ahead 11-5 after the first eight minutes.
Thanks to a 3-pointer by Hannah Palmer, the Lady Diamonds (6-11, 1-5) got the game tied once more at 14-all with 4:31 left before halftime. That would be as close as Sallisaw got.
The Lady Rangers ended the first half on a 10-0 run, capped by a Lilly Medicine Bird free throw with 38 second left, to put Roland ahead 23-14 at halftime.
Roland got its advantage to as great as 19 points at 34-15 on a pair of Ryanne Nelke free throws with 3:15 left in the third quarter.
However, the Lady Diamonds ended the period with a 5-0 run, capped by Martin’s 3-pointer with 63 seconds left in the quarter, to cut the Roland lead to 34-20 after three periods.
Back-to-back baskets by Palmer cut Sallisaw’s deficit to 40-28 with 2:45 left to play. First-year Sallisaw girls coach Eric Carr thought there might be a chance of getting the break that two other teams Roland has played — Muldrow and Quinton — had happen, seeing Roland lose a fourth-quarter lead and suffer defeat. However, the Lady Rangers did not let that happen.
“He (Roland first year girls coach Scott Nelke) does a really good job with them,” Carr said. “He’s got 2:30 left. If they would take a couple quick shots, that would have given us a couple chances to score — and you would have had a ball game. He’s smarter than that. He pulled it out. We did a good job running around trying to trap them, but we were about a second slow in the rotation.” In fact, the final 2:45 only saw a pair of Haven Freeman free throws with 16 seconds left.
After the Lady Rangers saw a 33-16 third-quarter lead to Quinton evaporate in last Saturday’s Warner Eagles Classic finals in an overtime loss to the Lady Savages, Nelke was anxious to see his team respond, and he believed it did.
“I thought we responded,” Nelke said. “I thought we were sluggish a bit there late, but overall a win is a win.”
Scoring droughts doomed the Lady Diamonds.
“That happens a lot,” Carr said.
For the game, Haven Freeman scored a gamehigh 15 points and Halle Freeman added 10 points to lead Roland, followed by Nelke with eight points, Earnhart with six points and Medicine Bird with three points.
In defeat, Palmer and Alayna Locust-Tramell led Sallisaw with seven points each, followed by Martin and Abby Kate Qualls each with six points and Sydney Weedon and Channing Wilson with a free throw apiece.
ROLAND 60, SALLISAW 41
The Black Diamonds (710 overall, 1-5 in NOAA Conference play) led for much of the opening quarter, having as big as a five-point lead after a pair of Cooper Jackson free throws with 4:46 left in the period put Sallisaw ahead 8-3.
However, the Running Rangers (16-1, 6-0) went on a 9-3 run, capped by a Kade Shook 3-point basket with 1:33 remaining in the quarter, to put Roland ahead 1211. A Wes Rodriguez free throw for Sallisaw with 32 seconds left in the period got the game tied at 12-all after a quarter.
The Black Diamonds got the lead back one more time to open the second quarter as another Rodriguez free throw put Sallisaw ahead 13-12 with 7:27 left before halftime. Sallisaw would never lead again.
The Running Rangers went on a 15-2 run, capped by a conventional three-point play by Carson Wiggins with 2:52 remaining in the first half, to put Roland ahead 27-15.
However, the Black Diamonds ended the first half with a 7-0 run as Rustyn Romero’s free throw with two seconds left cut Roland’s lead to 27-22 at halftime.
A Cooper Carter basket to open the second half cut Sallisaw’s deficit to 27-24 with 7:47 left in the third quarter. That was as close as the Black Diamonds got, but they stayed within striking distance until the fourth quarter.
A basket by Sallisaw’s Cooper Cox cut Roland’s lead to five points at 3126 with 4:54 remaining in the period, but that ended up being as close as Sallisaw got.
“We knew coming to Roland we were up against odds,” Sallisaw boys coach Chadd Gehrke said. “You’re going to be fighting for that extra inch when you come to Roland, but we played our rear ends off. I was pretty proud of that.”
The Running Rangers took a 36-30 lead into the final period, in which Roland outscored Sallisaw 24-11 to close out the game.
“They (Sallisaw) played really well,” Roland boys coach Eddie Lewis said. “They did some really good things, then we kind of countered it. We finally hit some outside shots, and that helped us in the fourth quarter.”
Lewis is hoping this 10game winning streak is a sign of things to come.
“I hope (we’re peaking at the right time),” he said. “We definitely need to. We’ve been playing pretty good ball. If we can keep that up, and keep working hard, I think we can keep it going.
For the game, Wiggins scored a game-high 24 points to lead Roland, followed by DaVohn Hall with 13 points, Shook with seven points, Paul Johnson with six points, Cason Perryman with four points and Buck Triplett and Mason Kemp with three points apiece.
In defeat, Cooper Jackson led Sallisaw with 18 points, followed by Rodriguez with nine points, Carter with five points, Max Stump with three points, Cox and Kenyan Hill with two points apiece and Romero with a free throw.