By Nick Snow
PERKINS, Okla. —
Survival. That’s what it’s all about when it comes to this stage of the high school basketball season.
And that’s exactly what the Perkins-Tryon High School boys basketball team did during a 49-33 win over Chisholm in the Class 3A Area I regional consolation finals Wednesday.
The Demons (17-9) survived a sluggish first half, survived foul trouble and survived a physical fourth quarter to keep their season alive.
“I was a little worried about that because the last game we scouted them, they jumped on Nowata 17-5 in the first half,” Perkins-Tryon coach Norman Tippeconnie said. “Our keys were to keep them off the free-throw line and get off to a good start. Early on I don’t know if we did either, but somehow we survived it.
“With us it’s never really eye appealing. But my kids play hard and play good defense and we find a way to win.”
Cody Waitt scored 17 points, helping Perkins-Tryon keep its season alive — at least for another day — and clinch a spot in the Area I tournament for the second time in four years. The Demons will face Henryetta at 8 p.m. Thursday in Sand Springs
“Our coach was telling us about taking steps to where we wanted to be,” Waitt said. “This was another step for us. We weren’t ready to be done. We wanted to move on so we got some fire and kept playing.”
Clinging to a five-point lead at halftime, the Demons opened the second half with an 8-1 run to get a little breathing room. Momentum continued to swing in Perkins-Tryon’s favor in the fourth quarter with another 6-0 run, effectively taking Chisholm out of the game.
“It made us more confident and momentum was in our favor,” Waitt said. “We knew right then that we could finish it out, since we had a big enough lead.”
It took a while to get that lead, as Chisholm scored the first four points of the game before the Demons closed out the first quarter with a 10-2 run, taking a 10-6 lead after one quarter.
Even when Perkins-Tryon seemed to be pulling away, Chisholm found a way to sneak back in the game — closing the gap to 18-16 with Danner Kiernan’s 3-pointer late in the second quarter before the Demons took a 22-17 halftime lead on Hayden McBride’s layup at the buzzer.
“A lot of it was that we just needed to slow down to about 80 miles per hour on offense,” Tippeconnie said. “Sometimes we get moving too fast. I think we did a better job of that in the second half.”
With Thunder Sharp on the bench with three fouls, Travis Cotton and Waitt took matters into their own hands — starting with the defensive end. Nearly every Chisholm shot was contested, while Cotton and Waitt limited the Longhorns’ second-chance points by crashing the boards to help spark the Demons to a 30-22 lead after three quarters.
“I’ve got three seniors, and when I told them that this could be their last game,” Tippeconnie said, “I asked them, ‘How do you want to be remembered? As a team that lost your last home game or a team that got to the area?’ And they just responded really well.”
Perkins-Tryon continued to roll in the fourth quarter as Waitt and Caleb White helped the lead continue to balloon. Chisholm looked like it might get back in the game when Luke Ball hit a 3-pointer with 5:27 left, but it was too little, too late for the Longhorns.
Along with Waitt, Cotton finished with eight points and five rebounds, while Caleb White scored six points — all in the second half. Talon Sharp and McBride each finished with five points.
Perkins-Tryon may have survived against Chisholm, but there won’t be much celebrating. A little more than 24 hours after beating the Longhorns the Demons will once again be fighting for their playoff lives against Henryetta.
“It’s tough because what you’re going to see is a different opponent,” Tippeconnie said. “They’re guard-oriented, quick, transition team. Our focus now is to watch some film and get our scouting reports on Henryetta then start putting a game plan together.”
And while the turnaround may be quick, Waitt says he isn’t worried about it after having so much time off because of the cancellations.
“We just have to get some rest, go to bed, be good and come back and play the same way,” Waitt said. “Momentum is definitely in our favor right now.”