Stonewall’s first meeting with Konawa on the basketball court in this century was supposed to feature a showdown between two of the top girls teams in the area — a Lady Longhorn club that entered the night 11-0 and a Lady Tiger squad coming off a state tournament appearance last season.

But the boys stole the show.

Tyler Henshall shut down red-hot Stonewall star Brian Monroe in the second half, and Kyle White rammed home an offensive rebound for the deciding basket with 26 seconds to play as Konawa won a thriller, 60-57, to improve to 4-3 on the season.

In the girls’ game, Stonewall — No. 12 in Class A — used another outstanding defensive effort to offset a cold shoting performance and cruised to a 51-34 victory over a Konawa club ranked No. 12 in Class 2A.


Konawa 60, Stonewall 57

Although Konawa carried a 35-34 lead into the locker room at intermission courtesy of a steal and a layup by Cylas Foster (his only basket of the game) with a second left, Monroe was a one-man wrecking crew in the first half, draining six 3-pointers in as many tries and scoring 24 of his club’s 34 points — including a remarkable 21 straight during a span of less than six minutes. 

A 5-10 senior guard, Monroe also got a steal and a layup in the opening seconds of the third quarter to increase his point total to 26 and put the Longhorns — who trailed by as many as 11 (20-9) in the first half — on top for only the second time in the game at 36-35.

But Henshall, who had watched most of Monroe’s first-half performance from the bench with two fouls, held the Stonewall sharpshooter to only one field goal and five attempts the rest of the half and blocked his potential game-tying shot in the final seconds. 

Monroe finished with a career-high 29 points but took only one shot in the third quarter after his early layup and didn’t have a field goal attempt for more than five minutes before his desperation 3-pointer at the end.

“I just told Tyler to go out and play (Monroe) head-up,” Konawa coach Gordon Garner said.  “We thought he could shut him down.

“Tyler got those two early fouls, and even though (Monroe) was having a big first half, I was content to keep Tyler on the bench as long as we kept it close,” Garner added.  “I wanted to save him for the second half.”

In addition to his outstanding defensive effort, Henshall — a junior guard who was one of only two returning starters for Konawa this season —scored nine of his 12 points in the second half and joined with White and Lee Mullins to score 23 of the Tigers’ 25 points in the final two periods.

Monroe, who got steals on back-to-back Konawa possessions after a Bronson Gore free throw tied the game at 56-all with 1:49 to play, turned the ball over after his first steal, then promptly stole the ball back.  He was fouled and sank the first of two free throws to give the Longhorns their last lead at 57-56 with 53 seconds remaining, but he missed the second free throw to set up White’s late heroics.

Henshall missed the Tigers’ first attempt at the lead, but backcourt mate Ethan Johnson — a sophomore who scored only three points but had an outstanding second half despite not taking a shot — grabbed the rebound and passed to Mullins, who missed his only 3-point attempt of the night.  White was there to grab the rebound, however, and he put it back for what proved to be the game winner.

“Kyle has done a fabulous job for us,” Garner said of White, a tight end and linebacker on the Konawa football team this fall who came off the bench to score a career-high 15 points — all in the final three quarters.  “I like his fire, and he gives us a spark off the bench.”

Monroe was called for traveling on a baseline drive with 11.5 seconds left, and Henshall was fouled with 10.2 seconds remaining after taking the ensuing in-bounds pass. He sank both free throws to make it 60-57, then got a hand on Monroe’s late 3-point attempt. The ball went out of bounds and would have come back in to the Longhorns, but time expired.

“Brian single-handedly kept us in the game in the first half,” first-year Stonewall coach Wes Moreland said after seeing his club fall to 6-6 on the season.  “But (Henshall) just did a great job on him in the second half.

“Defensively, Konawa is one of the best teams we’ve seen this year,” Moreland added.  “But we just aren’t smart with the basketball yet at key points in the game.”

One of those points came late in the first half, when, after trailing throughout, the Longhorns had taken the lead at 32-31 on a driving layup by Justin Stephens with 2:15 left and had increased the margin to three on a Gore layup 70 seconds later. 

White’s putback of an offensive rebound with 43 seconds remaining cut the lead to one, but the Longhorns were playing for the last shot and a potential three-point halftime lead when Foster got a steal near midcourt and converted a layup at the other end just before time expired to put Konawa on top at intermission.

“That basket gave them the momentum at halftime after we had shot our way back into the game,” Moreland said.

Konawa got six points each from Mullins — who had a team-high 18 points and 10 rebounds — and Ronnie Osborn in the first quarter and led by 11 before a pair of Monroe field goals in the final 45 seconds cut it to 20-13 heading to the second period.

Monroe continued the onslaught over the next five minutes, hitting five straight 3-pointers and adding a layup off an offensive rebound to cut the Konawa lead to 31-30 with 3:04 left before Stephens put the Longhorns on top for the first time in the game 49 seconds later.

Stonewall led by as many as three points (42-39) in the third quarter, but Konawa went on an 11-0 run capped by a Henshall 3-pointer with 38 seconds left to make it 50-42, and the Tigers settled for a six-point lead heading to the fourth after Stonewall’s Bo Scribner hit a late jumper.

Scribner, who took only one shot in the first half, scored 12 points after intermission on 5-of-5 shooting -- including eight points in a 9-2 run capped by his layup to give the Longhorns the lead at 55-54 with 3:25 remaining.

Johnson, who has settled in as Konawa’s point guard, didn’t score after hitting a 3-pointer early in the first quarter, but he finished with five assists and two steals and he joined Osborn and White with five rebounds apiece to help the Tigers to a 37-27 advantage on the boards.


Stonewall 51, Konawa 34

The Lady Longhorns, just two days removed from a dominant performance in the Pontotoc Conference Tournament, shot just 32 percent from the field (15-for-51), missed 15 free throws and were outrebounded, 43-36, but their defense carried them to their 12th straight win to open the season.

“Once again our defense stepped up,” second-year Stonewall coach Christie Jennings said after watching her club hold an opponent under 40 points for the 11th time in 12 games.  “I don’t know where the points came from.  I looked up in the third quarter and we were up 13.”

Stonewall’s three leading scorers — Rena Serpa, Felicia Logsdon and Tesia Worcester — all picked up two early fouls, and the three were rarely on the floor together in the second half. 

Logsdon finished with 16 points (but hit only 4-of-12 field goals and 8-of-16 free throws), Serpa added 10 (on 4-of-14 shooting) and Worcester (2-of-8) had seven, but steady performances from Stonewall’s other two starters — guard Cherokee Brown and forward Tobie Daniel — and quality minutes from the bench proved to the be the key to the surprisingly easy victory.

“People have told me we’re not too deep this year, but in the last two games my freshmen (Shelby Lackey and Tyla Transue) have really stepped up,” Jennings said.  “And Kristie (Byrd) had a great game off the bench for us.”

Byrd, who entered the game when Worcester picked up her second foul at the 2:58 mark of the first quarter, was on the floor for most of the contest and finished with nine points, five rebounds, three steals and three assists.  She scored six points in the pivotal second quarter, when Stonewall went on a 16-7 run to take a 23-13 halftime lead, and she hit the Lady Longhorns’ only two 3-pointers in the game.

Stonewall led only 7-6 after an ugly first quarter but took control of the game by intermission despite hitting only 2-of-9 free throws and 10-of-26 field goal attempts. Konawa was only 3-for-14 from the field in the first quarter and only 6-for-24 in the first half, and Kelsey Howard — who led the Lady Tigers with 12 points —was the only Konawa player with two field goals at intermission.

Although Logsdon — who also had 10 rebounds and six steals — didn’t score in the third quarter, Stonewall extended its lead to 34-21, and the Lady Longhorns outscored Konawa in the fourth period, 17-13, despite hitting only one field goal (Byrd’s 3-pointer with 6:40 to play). Stonewall was 14-for-20 from the free throw line in the final quarter (after going 3-for-12 in the first three periods) to finish 17-for-32.  Konawa, meanwhile, shot only three free throws in the game and hit one.

Brown, who might be the most improved player on the Stonewall squad this season, scored six points and added three steals, two rebounds and two assists and ran the offense with Worcester (who had four steals and three rebounds despite her foul problems) on the bench, while Daniel scored only three points but added six rebounds, four assists and a steal.          

Rachael Cole had seven rebounds to go with six points and was one of five Konawa players with at least four rebounds in the game, and Rehea Grant added seven points, five boards and three steals in the loss.