OROVILLE – Oroville made 4-of-6 free throws in the final 6.5 seconds of the fourth quarter to key a tense 69-65 victory over rival Tonasket and earn a split of the season series on Tuesday, Dec. 13.
“We expect it to be close when we play Tonasket,” said Oroville coach Allen Allie. “Both teams should be commended for their efforts. It was a nailbiter.”
Tonasket led 60-56 with four minutes to play before the Hornets’ 9-2 run gave them a 65-52 lead in the final minute. But John Stedtfeld, for the second straight game, showed why he’s the Tigers’ go-to guy in the clutch, draining a game-tying 3-pointer with 21 seconds to play.
Dylan Rise hit 1-of-2 free throws with 6.5 seconds left to give Oroville the lead. C.J. Mathews came up with the rebound of the missed charity shot and hit the second of his two shots. The Tigers then turned the ball over on the inbounds play, forcing them to foul Michael Garrett with two seconds left.
Garrett hit both shots for the last of his game-high 35 points to ice the win.
“We made a few too many mistakes toward the end,” said Tonasket coach Glenn Braman. “And they made their free throws. I felt we had some good opportunities to come out of there with a win, but things just didn’t bounce our way.”
The Tigers’ 13-8 lead was as big as either team’s advantage got through the tightly contested game. Tonasket led 32-31 at the half and 52-48 heading to the final quarter.
Garrett’s 35 points were key, but Mathews, in his first four games back, added 14 points and provided game-changing defense and rebounding.
Connor Hughes and Zack Speiker each added eight points.
“We have some good scorers on our team but there are so many plays these guys make in the game that don’t show up in the box score,” Allie said. “We, as a team, take great pride in our defense and tonight we played great defense to get us in a position to win.
“Our turnovers are what we need to control better. You can’t score if you give the other team the ball. As a new coach with a lot to learn and a team learning a new style of play we are improving every game.”
Tonasket put four players in double figures. Dyllan Gage led the way with 13 points, Michael Orozco added 12, Zac Davis tallied 11 and Stedtfeld had 10.
“(I’m) very happy with our effort and our competitiveness so far this season. We have things to continue improving on, and we will get there.”
The Hornets (4-2) were scheduled to host Omak on Dec. 21, and next play at Cashmere on Thursday, Dec. 29.
Tonasket 77, Liberty Bell 60
TONASKET – Glenn Braman was not happy at halftime of Saturday’s contest with Liberty Bell.
Not after his Tigers had allowed 41 points to the scrappy Mountain Lions, including 20 points to elusive forward Kyle Putnam.
“We’re adamant that we don’t want to give up 41 points to anyone in a half, let alone a 2B school,” Braman said. “Don’t get me wrong. Liberty Bell plays hard. They really, really get after it and the rebound unbelievably well. They get after rebounds like they’ll get yanked off the floor if they don’t get one.
“Even so, our kids needed to wake up and play defense the way they were capable of. Dyllan Gage asked to take Putnam in the second half and did a great job.”
The sophomore held Putnam to just five second half points and the Tigers doubled up the Mountain Lions 38-19 after halftime to claim a 77-60 victory.
“In the first half we didn’t guard him well and we were late on our help, and he just sliced and diced us,” Braman said of Putnam. “He’s kind of squirmy in that he can just find that little opening and get through it.”
Offensively, the Tigers had one of their more efficient performances, and by the fourth quarter playing with an uncharacteristically large lead after a string of nailbiters.
“You can never complain about 77 points,” Braman said. “But you could tell we’re not used to being up like that. We don’t need to be shooting 3’s with a big lead.”
John Stedtfeld nearly matched Putnam’s first half with a 21-point second half and finished with 30 points. He hit 4-of-6 3-pointers and a 2-point basket in a five minute stretch of the third quarter as the Tigers turned their 41-39 deficit into a 53-47 lead. Gage and Zac Davis finished off the 16-6 run with baskets, and Gage opened the fourth quarter with a trey as the Tigers pulled away.
Damon Halvorsen added 14 points, all in the first half, Gage had 11 and Davis tallied nine as the Tigers improved to 4-2.
Putnam had 25, Keelan Christensen added 12 and Cody Cupp scored 11 for the Mountain Lions (3-2).
The Tigers hosted Bridgeport on Tuesday and next play at the Brewster tournament on Thursday, Dec. 29, in the 4:30 p.m. contest.