By SHAWN YORKS
• Leader & Times
LAVERNE, Okla. — After last Saturday’s 60-point loss to the state’s No. 1-ranked team in the regional championship, it was important for the Tyrone Bobcats to come out fighting in Thursday’s Area Consolation quarterfinals, in order to get their confidence back.
And the Bobcats did just that against Gage, as the Bobcats were hot from beyonf the arc and built a lead late in the fourth quarter.
But a cold-shooting stretch in the final 3-1/2 minutes doomed the Bobcats in a 54-48 loss to the Tigers.
“They got shots to fall and we didn’t,” Tyrone head coach Clay Witt said. “That’s basketball.
“Our shots had been falling, kind of keeping us in the game. We didn’t get back on defense a few times and they got some really easy looks.”
The Bobcats (17-5) jumped out early, 8-2 thanks to a trey by Austin Olivas and Adan Lomas and a basket by Jacob Williams.
But Gage (20-9) roared back. After Williams made it 13-8 Bobcats, Gage went on a quick run to take a 14-13 lead at the end of the first quarter.
But Tyrone wouldn’t go away easily. Olivas nailed a trey to give Tyrone a 16-14 lead, but Gage’s Jalen Gaines answered with one of his own and it was a 1-point Tiger lead.
The Tigers continued their run, taking a 24-16 lead before Tyrone surged back.
Lomas, Olivas and Tyler Lai each scored to cut the Tiger lead to 24-23. After Gage went ahead 28-23, Lomas struck again with a 3-pointer, and Tyrone was down just 28-25 at halftime.
“I felt like we were doing a good job on defense and making them work for their points,” Witt said. “Then we let them have a couple of freebies, and late in the game, you can’t do it.”
Williams and Lomas quickly gave the Bobcats the lead early in the third before the Tigers responded, as the third quarter saw seven ties or lead changes, with the game all knotted up at 39 entering the final frame.
A steal and hoop by Olivas gave the Bobcats the lead at 41-39, but Gage’s Ryan Creed tied it back up for the Tigers. Olivas put Tyrone up by two, Gage’s Kendon Gaines answered.
Olivas nailed a trey, then the Tigers got two straight baskets by Kendon Gaines to take a 47-46 lead.
Something had to give, and it finally did. After Gaines scored with three minutes left, the Tigers would never trail again as Tyrone went as cold as the wind blowing outside Shackelford Hall.
Gage ended the game on an 11-2 run to put the Bobcats away.
Olivas led Tyrone with 20 points, Lomas 13, Williams and Travis Shield six each and Lai three.
Kendon Gaines led Gage with 27 points, Creed 14 and Jalen Gaines six.
And while the loss was disappoining, it was a successful season at Tyrone, which advanced to the Area round of the playoffs for the first time in several years.
“We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished this year: District champs, made it to Area,” Witt said. “We don’t do that very often. We did some good things, had a good year, had some great seniors.”
Gage advances to the Consolation semifinals against Burlington.