Jeff Cali Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Konawa — The Byng Pirates melted away a first-half Snow storm by heating up from beyond the arc and eventually pulled away from host Konawa for a 73-48 victory.
Konawa star Zach Snow scorched the Byng defense for 21 first-half points but was shut down in the second half by a Byng defensive performance led by Reid Wall. Snow didn’t score over the final two quarters, got off just two second-half field goal attempts and didn’t even produce a shot in the fourth period.
Byng led just 37-32 at the break before outscoring the Tigers 36-16 over the final two frames.
“He’s a good player. He’s a tough matchup because he can go inside-out,” said Byng head coach Trent Miller, referring to Snow.
Byng improved to 5-2 on the year, while the Konawa boys dropped to 2-4.
In the girls opener, after a nip-and-tuck first quarter, the Lady Pirates used a stifling defense to shut down Konawa for the rest of the game. Byng buried the Lady Tigers 51-32.
Byng 73, Konawa 48
Reid Wall — known more for shutting down opponents from the pitcher’s mound in baseball — blanketed Snow for the majority of the second half, and the talented KHS player could never get an open look or get into any rhythm.
“Reid Wall did an outstanding job on him, but with that, I thought we played outstanding team defense. We really made it hard for them to get the ball to him,” Miller said. “We made some adjustments. We had to make it a point to stop this guy because he was just lighting us up.”
Byng scored the first seven points of the third quarter, including a 3-pointer by Hunter Capps and back-to-back buckets by Joe Nemecek just 24 seconds apart. After Nemecek got free inside for his first basket, his steal and layup gave Byng a 44-32 lead at the 4:58 mark of the third period.
The Pirates limited Konawa to just two field goals in the third period and capped a 15-5 surge with Reid Wall’s drive to the basket with just under a minute left.
Snow tried to get on the board offensively with a drive down the middle of the lane, but Byng’s Dinah Bohan helped continue the Konawa playmaker’s frustrating second half by drawing a charge with 22 seconds left in the third quarter. The frustration spilled over to Konawa head coach Gordon Garner, who spent an entire time out talking to officials about the charging call.
Byng was able to counter Snow’s big first half — he hit 7-of-8 field goals and 5-of-7 free throws during the first 16 minutes — by bombing away from the 3-point stripe. Byng hit five first-half triples and buried Konawa, thanks in part to six second-half treys. The Pirates would finish 11-of-25 from long range in the contest, with seven different players hitting at least one 3-pointer.
“I told them I felt like everybody that played came in and was ready to go. Offensively, they were all stepping in and ready to make shots,” Miller said. “It always looks good when the ball is going in. But I think their effort paid dividends for them.”
Snow hit a 3-pointer and scored on a fast break late in a fast-paced first quarter to give Konawa a 20-17 lead. His jumper to start the second quarter gave Konawa its biggest lead at 22-17.
The Tigers still led 23-20 after a Snow free throw at the 6:45 mark of the second quarter, but reserve Ryan Smith buried a 3-pointer from the corner and Reid Wall followed with back-to-back baskets — his first points of the game. Wall’s last basket, a nifty one-hander in the lane, put the Pirates on top 27-23, and they wouldn’t trail again.
A free throw and jumper by Snow got Konawa within 30-29, but Byng followed with another 3-pointer from Smith and a Capps lay-in after splitting a double team.
Snow completed an old-fashioned three-point play to make it 35-32, but Reid Wall scored on another fast-break bucket to give Byng its 37-32 halftime advantage.
Bohan would lead a group of nine Byng players who reached the scoring column with 13 points to go with a team-high seven rebounds. Reid Wall added 10 points and five boards, while Nemecek had 10 points to go with four rebounds and three steals. Smith hit 3-of-6 triples to add nine points for Byng. Gage Wall and Capps each contributed seven points for the Pirates.
Konawa's 6-7 post player, Branden Davis, followed Snow’s 21 points with 14 points and six rebounds. Silas Larney just missed double figures with eight.
Byng 51, Konawa 32
Konawa led 6-2 early, and the game was knotted at 10-all after two free throws by Cheyenne Galimba with just 32.8 seconds left in the opening period.
Asya Tims scored on a baseline drive for Byng to end the quarter with the visitors clinging to a 12-10 lead.
The Lady Pirates went from a zone to a man-to-man defense, and the adjustment worked well. After hitting 4-of-6 field goals in the first quarter, Konawa made just 1-of-6 shots in the second period and committed seven turnovers.
“I was a little disappointed in our defense in the first quarter. We started with our zone, which we’ve been pretty good in, and we didn’t play with a lot of energy and discipline in it,” said Byng head coach Matt Fike. “But from the second quarter on, we went back to our man defense, and our energy got better and were a lot more consistent being where we needed to be.”
Four different players scored during Byng’s 12-2 second-quarter surge, led by a pair of chip shots from Shadley Grove.
Byng used a 10-2 run to open the third period and open up a 34-14 lead.
Like their male counterparts, Byng saw nine different players reach the scoring column. Alexis Hill led the way with a solid all-around effort that included 15 points, seven rebounds and six steals. Grove added seven points, while Tims followed with six points and three steals.
Kendall Fike came off the bench for Byng and added four points and seven rebounds.
Konawa got 10 points apiece from Danielle Khoury and Brittany West, while freshman Roshawn Warrior followed with eight.
Byng’s defense helped force 27 Konawa turnovers. Byng won the battle of the boards 30-21.
Both schools will be hosting tournaments that begin today.
The Byng girls face Dickson at 7 p.m., while the Byng boys meet the Okemah JV at 8:30 p.m. In Konawa, the Lady Tigers battle Lexington at 4:20 p.m., with the Tigers facing Destiny Christian at 8:20 p.m.