SASAKWA — Sasakwa’s Lady Vikings might have been the best-kept secret in Oklahoma girls basketball through the first month of the season. After Monday night’s 62-39 rout of Tupelo, though, the secret might be getting out.

Tied with the Lady Tigers — who had scored impressive wins over Class A Stonewall and Class 2A Vanoss in the previous 10 days — at 14-all early in the second quarter, Sasakwa went on an impressive 15-0 run to blow the game open and never looked back. The victory was the eighth in 10 games for the Lady Vikings, whose only two losses so far (both by six points) were to unbeaten Varnum, Class B’s No. 3 team.

“I think you have to earn respect,” Sasakwa coach Doug Isaacs said when asked why his young club has flown below the radar in Class B so far this season. “We’re just going to go play as hard as we can every night, and hopefully that respect will come.”

In the boys game, Tupelo’s starters built a 48-13 lead midway through the third quarter before heading to the bench, and the Tigers — ranked as high as No. 2 in Class B —cruised to a 60-45 victory to improve to 12-1 on the season.

GIRLS

Sasakwa 62, Tupelo 39

Tupelo — coming off an impressive 49-35 victory over Vanoss Friday to grab a share of the Pontotoc Conference lead — tied the score for the last time on a driving left-handed layup by Katie Campbell with 6:39 left in the half, but the Lady Tigers went 0-for-8 and over the next 5:15 and didn’t score again until freshman Chesna Henry hit a layup off a feed from sophomore Megan Bray just 1:24 before intermission.

The Lady Vikings — who have seven freshmen and just one senior on their 11-man roster — took full advantage of the Tupelo drought, getting a field goal on nine of their final 13 possessions in the half to build a 33-18 halftime lead.

Sasakwa began its pivotal 15-0 run on a second-chance layup at the 6:15 mark by sophomore C. J. Palmer, who scored 16 of her game-high 17 points over the final three periods. She added 11 rebounds to complete a strong double-double and lead the Lady Vikings to a solid 29-19 advantage on the boards.

Baskets from freshman point guard Nikki Nail and her older sister, junior Jacklyn, over the next 1:19 extended the lead to six, and Jacklyn Nail’s long 3-pointer off an inbounds pass from Cheyenne Womack made it 23-14 with 4:12 left in the half.

A Palmer fast-break layup off one of Nikki Nail’s five assists gave Sasakwa its first double-digit lead of the night just 19 seconds later, and Palmer completed the 15-0 spurt with back-to-back putbacks of offensive rebounds in the span of 28 seconds — the second with 2:20 remaining before the break.

Freshman Cerissa Palmer (C. J.’s younger sister) got into the act late in the half, driving the baseline for back-to-back layups in the final minute to offset Henry’s basket and a layup by Campbell (off another Bray assist) and preserve the 15-point lead at intermission.

Sasakwa was 9-for-16 in the second quarter and 14-for-28 in the first half while Tupelo was just for 8-for-22 before the break. The Lady Vikings were even better in the second half, connecting on 13-of-21 shots to finish the game a gaudy 27-for-49 against a Tupelo squad that had limited Vanoss to just six field goals in 20 attempts from the middle of the first quarter to the middle of the fourth three days earlier. The Lady Tigers had a couple of devastating cold streaks during the game and finished 16-for-47 on the night.



“We’re pretty good when we shoot the ball well,” Isaacs said. “I felt like this game came down to Tupelo’s shots not going in and ours were.”

“They’re just better than us right now,” Tupelo coach Brian Davis said of the Lady Vikings after seeing his club lose for just the second time in its last seven games to fall to 9-4 on the season. “And if they shoot like they did tonight, they’re going to be better than a lot of people.”

Sasakwa picked up where it had left off at the end of the first half early in the third quarter, scoring on seven of its first nine possessions to built the lead to 49-30 despite a 12-point Tupelo flurry in the span of less than three minutes that included a pair of 3-pointers by Bray and another by Josie Soukup.

Bray’s second trey at the 4:29 mark made it a 15-point game again 43-28, but a long 3-pointer by Nikki Nail (who, along with her sister, started the school year at Konawa) and another trey from the corner by Linda Epley (Sasakwa’s only senior) kept the lead at 19. After their burst early in the quarter, the Lady Tigers didn’t score again for almost five minutes. Nikki Nail converted a conventional 3-point play and assisted on an Epley layup over the final 2:54 to send Sasakwa to the fourth period with a 54-30 lead.

Sasakwa’s “sister act” — the Nails and the Palmers — accounted for all but eight of the Lady Vikings’ points, with Nikki Nail (15 points on 6-of-10 shooting, seven rebounds and five assists) and Jacklyn Nail (14 points on 6-of-12 shooting) teaming for 29 and Cerissa Palmer complementing her older sibling’s big night with eight points and six rebounds. Epley was 3-for-7 from the field and hit two of the Lady Vikings’ five 3-pointers to account for the other eight points.

Campbell led Tupelo with 16 points and added four rebounds, three steals and three assists, but she was just 7-for-20 from the field. Bray had a solid outing with eight points, five assists and four rebounds, while Henry — making her second straight start — was 3-for-3 from the field and finished with eight points. But Soukup (2-for-11 for five points) and freshman Shanna Davidson (two points on 2-for-5 shooting and a season-low two rebounds) — two major reasons for the Lady Tigers’ recent surge — were almost totally neutralized by the quicker Lady Vikings.

BOYS

Tupelo 60, Sasakwa 45

Tupelo’s top three scorers — Cameron Mann and Randy and Brendan McCurry — combined for 34 points (on 13-for-23 shooting) in about two and a half quarters to lead the Tigers to their commanding lead, then the reserves for both teams played most of the fourth quarter.

Brendan McCurry scored all of his 11 points (including three straight 3-pointers) in a first quarter that ended with Tupelo on top 19-7, and the Tigers increased their lead to 37-11 at the break, with Mann and Randy McCurry scoring five points apiece and fellow senior Chad Woods also hitting a pair of field goals in the period.

Randy McCurry finished with a game-high 12 points and added four rebounds, three assists and two steals in the win, while Mann and Brendan McCurry had 11 points apiece. Junior Jeremy Stein had another solid defensive game with five of Tupelo’s 13 steals, and he also chipped in offensively with eight points, three assists, three rebounds and a blocked shot.

Woods had another solid outing, scoring six points on 3-of-4 shooting and adding five rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Jesse Willaims and Rowdy Roulston had nine points apiece to lead Sasakwa.







At Sasakwa

GIRLS

Sasakwa 62, Tupelo 39

TUPELO ............... 2 6 12 9 — 39

SASAKWA ...........14 19 21 8 — 62

TUPELO: Katie Campbell 7-20, 1-3, 16; Megan Bray 3-7, 0-0, 8; Chesna Henry 3-3, 2-3, 8; Josie Soukup 2-11, 0-0, 5; Shanna Davidson 1-5, 0-0, 2. Totals: 16-47, 3-6, 39.

SASAKWA: C. J. Palmer 8-10, 1-2, 17; Nikki Nail 6-11, 2-2, 15; Jacklyn Nail 6-12, 0-0, 14; Linda Epley 3-7, 0-0, 8; Cerissa Palmer 4-10, 0-0, 10. Totals: 27-49, 3-4, 62.

Turnovers: Tupelo 11, Sasakwa 13

Steals: Tupelo 7 (Soukup 3, Campbell 3), Sasakwa 5 (J. Nail 3)

Rebounds: Tupelo 19 (2 with 4), Sasakwa 29 (C. J. Palmer 11, N. Nail 7, C. Palmer 6)

3-point goals: Tupelo 4-13 (Bray 2-3, Campbell 1-2, Soukup 1-6), Sasakwa 5-12 (Epley 2-3, J. Nail 2-6, N. Nail 1-2)

Fouled Out: None

BOYS

Tupelo 60, Sasakwa 45

TUPELO ................19 18 15 8 — 60

SASAKWA ..............7 4 17 17 — 45

TUPELO: Randy McCurry 4-10, 2-2, 12; Cameron Mann 5-6, 1-1, 11; Brendan McCurry 4-7, 0-0, 11; Chad Woods 3-4, 0-0, 6; Jake Sanders 1-1, 2-2, 4; David Wyszynski 2-4, 0-0, 4; Andy Bray 1-4, 0-0, 2; Logan Lynch 1-7, 0-0, 2. Totals: 25-55, 5-5, 60.

SASAKWA: Rowdy Roulston 4-4, 1-2, 9; Jesse Williams 4-5, 0-0, 9; Mike Wind 3-11, 2-2, 8; Csabi Illes 3-5, 1-1, 7; Almon Epley 3-11, 0-0, 7; Craig Poagybitty 2-6, 0-0, 5. Totals: 19-47, 4-5, 45.

Turnovers: Tupelo 20, Sasakwa 23

Steals: Tupelo 13 (Stein 5), Sasakwa 13 (Wind 6)

Rebounds: Tupelo 37 (Woods 5), Sasakwa 24 (3 with 4)

3-point goals: Tupelo 5-13 (B. McCurry 3-6, R. McCurry 2-6), Sasakwa 3-9 (Epley 1-1, Poafybitty 1-2, Williams 1-2).

Fouled Out: None

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