Roland, Muldrow split overtime thrillers in ‘Battle of 64’
The last “Battle of 64” on the hardwood for the 2023-24 basketball season between the visiting Roland High School basketball teams and the host Muldrow squads Friday night at Roger Sharp Activity Center did not disappoint as each game went into overtime — with the boys’ contest going three OTs.
The night started with the Lady Bulldogs outlasting the Lady Rangers 39-37 in overtime, then the Running Rangers getting the split as they got past the ’Dogs 57-54 in triple overtime.
MULDROW 39, ROLAND 37, OT
To say that this game was spirited would be an understatement. All total, three technical fouls were called.
“Muldrow and Rolland is always full of emotions,” Muldrow girls coach Jana Armer said. “It doesn’t matter if one of us is supposed to be good and one of us is not, or both of us are good or both of us are not. The same emotion plays. These kids go to church together. They’re friends outside of the court. Sometimes the emotions get the best of us.”
A free throw by Halle Freeman for the Lady Rangers (16-4 overall, 5-3 in NOAA Conference play) tied the game at 35-all with 1:57 left to play. Neither team could hit a basket or a free throw to untie the game, so the extra four minutes was needed. However, The Lady Rangers missed three straight free throws in the final period which might have won the game for Roland in regulation.
“In big rivalry games, or any game that’s going to be a big game, you have to do the little things, and I don’t think we did some of the little things,” Roland girls coach Scott Nelke said. “We gave up too many rebounds. (Missing) free throws probably had something to do with it. Just the little things hurt us.”
In OT, Roland’s Haven Freeman hit two free throws with 3:47 left to give her team a 37-35 lead.
With 54 seconds remaining, Claire Tabor hit what proved to be the game-winning shot to put the Lady Bulldogs (14-5, 6-2) up 38-37. Cailey Grinstead’s free throw with five seconds left upped the Muldrow advantage to 39-37.
The Lady Rangers had one last shot attempt, but Kynlei Earnhart’s 3-point shot missed the mark as the buzzer sounded.
“We had some big shots go in, like with Claire Tabor at the end,” Armer said.
The Lady Bulldogs got off to a fast start as they took a 14-9 lead after a quarter.
The Lady Rangers got their first lead of the night on a basket by Lilly Medicine Bird with 1:53 left before halftime to put Roland ahead 1918, but Grinstead’s basket with 56 seconds remaining in the first half regained the advantage for Muldrow at 20-19 at the break.
After Tabor’s 3-pointer increased the Muldrow lead to 23-19 with 6:18 left in the third quarter, the Lady Rangers went on a 7-0 run, capped by Medicine Bird’s basket with 3:34 remaining in the period to put Roland back on top at 2623.
However, the Lady Bulldogs ended the quarter on a 6-0 run, capped by Tabor’s basket with 65 seconds left, to regain Muldrow the lead at 29-26 entering the final eight minutes.
A Grinstead basket gave Muldrow its largest lead of the night at 33-28 with 6:16 remaining in regulation, but Roland ended regulation with a 7-2 run, capped by Halle Freeman’s free throw with 1:57 left in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 35-all.
“We found a way to win,” Armer said. “We’re still buckling down with our defense. I thought we played a good game the whole game, but we did some silly things at the end of the fourth quarter that allowed them to go score. We battled back — that’s all I can say, and we came out on top.”
For the game, Tabor led Muldrow with 11 points, followed by Grinstead with nine points, Kennedi “Kiki” Wight with six points, Katelynn Moore and Kennedy Moore with four points each, London Hardin with three points and Kayla Ellingberg with two points.
In defeat, Halle Freeman scored a game-high 12 points to lead Roland, followed by Haven Freeman with seven points and Earnhart, Medicine Bird and Ryanne Nelke with six points apiece.
ROLAND 57, MULDROW 54, 3 OT
The overtime thrills began with 0.5 seconds left in regulation when Muldrow’s Parker Sevenstar put back a rebound to knot the game at 40-all to send the game into what proved to be the first of three OTs.
In the first overtime, the Running Rangers (19-1 overall, 8-0 in NOAA Conference play) took a 44-40 lead after a free throw by Paul Johnson with 3:21 left in the first overtime, only to see Sevenstar come through once more for the Bulldogs (9-10, 4-4) as his basket with 1:14 remaining in the first OT tied the game at 46-all to force the second overtime.
In the second OT, Muldrow’s Teaguen Collins hit a basket with 37 seconds left to give the ’Dogs a 48-46 lead, but Carson Wiggins’ slam dunk for Roland with 13 seconds remaining re-tied the game at 48-all.
With 4.5 seconds left, Muldrow’s Jesse Kilinc hit one of two free throws to regain Muldrow the lead at 49-48, but Roland’s Raesean Perryman was fouled with 3.6 seconds left and hit one of two free throws to tie the game at 49all.
As Muldrow was bringing the ball down court, it went out of bounds with 0.5 seconds remaining to give Roland one last shot at winning the game in double overtime. However, that attempt failed, and the game went into triple overtime.
Roland outscored Muldrow 8-5 in the third OT to get the road win, and run its winning streak to 13.
“Persistence — that was the key,” Roland boys coach Eddie Lewis said. “They were right there with us. We missed some free throws. I thought if we had hit a couple of free throws, we might have gotten a little leeway there, but we never got down. We kept playing, I was proud that we made a couple of big defensive stops. I thought that was a big difference.”
“It was a barnburner,” Muldrow boys coach Terry Collins said. “We had our chances. We just let things slip through our hands. We’re definitely improving. We still have to cross the T’s and dot the I’s on just the little things — like getting hands up on shooters. That can make the difference sometimes.”
The Bulldogs started off hot in the opening period, taking a 14-6 lead into the second quarter, in which the Running Rangers responded with a 12-8 period to give Roland a 23-18 halftime lead. The run was capped by a Wiggins slam dunk with 46 seconds left before halftime.
Then, it was Muldrow’s turn as the ’Dogs scored the second half’s first nine points, capped by Collins’ basket with 5:41 left in the third quarter to put Muldrow ahead 27-23.
The Running Rangers responded with a 8-0 run, capped by Johnson’s basket with 1:18 remaining in the period, to put Roland on top 3127.
Muldrow’s Drew Prewett hit a 3-point basket with 56 seconds left in the quarter to cut the deficit to 31-30 entering the fourth quarter.
Back-to-back 3s by Roland’s Kade Shook gave the Running Rangers their biggest lead of the night at 37-30 with 6:45 left in regulation.
However, the Bulldogs ended the final period on a 10-3 run, capped by Sevenstar’s buzzerbeating putback to knot the game at 40-all to force overtime.
For the game, Johnson scored 14 points, with half of those coming during the three OTs, and Wiggins added 13 points to lead Roland, followed by Shook, Buck Triplett and Mason Kemp with nine points each, Cason Perryman with two points and Raesean Perryman with a free throw.
In defeat, Collins scored a game-high 20 points, followed by Kashan Bukhari with 14 points, Sevenstar with 12 points, Prewett with seven points and Kilinc with a free throw.