Jeff Cali Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Konawa — It looked like Roff’s Zach Lewis was going to be the hero in Saturday night’s matchup with host Konawa in the boys title game of the 2014 STAR Tournament.
With Roff clinging to a 35-33 lead early in the fourth quarter, Lewis hit a free throw and scored on an inbounds play. His steal led to a layup by C.J. Johnson that put Roff up 40-34 with 5:58 left in the game.
Following a Konawa timeout, it was Tiger Zach Snow who would reveal a big "S" on his chest. Snow scored seven points in a pivotal 11-0 run over the next three minutes to help the Tigers surge past Roff 51-45 to claim the tournament title.
Konawa improved to 8-5 on the year, while the Tigers of Roff (No. 14 in Class A) slipped to 16-5.
“We had to ride the ship a little bit,” said Konawa head coach Gordon Garner. “I thought our kids battled. Roff is pretty physical inside. It was a good win for us. We needed something like that.”
Following the timeout, Snow split a Roff triple team, was fouled while hitting a layup and converted the three-point play to get Konawa within 40-37.
On the next trip down the floor, Snow went high and battled for a rebound and scored on a putback.
Then, after a fast-break bucket by Haydoekeyo Tsosie, Snow drove past a Roff defender and hit a one-handed bank shot that put Konawa on top 43-40 with 3:54 left.
“That was a big play in the ballgame,” Garner said of Snow’s quick three points. “We got a couple of big stops, and then we just came down and we executed our offense. (Later) he drove the baseline and hit that little jump shot and that’s Zach’s game.”
Tsosie completed the 11-0 run with a baskets off a nice pass from Chance Yellowfish that put the host Tigers ahead 45-40 with 3:05 left.
“Haydoekeyo made some plays down the stretch too, and I thought Chance did an excellent job with his floor leadership,” Garner said.
Roff’s Tigers got within two twice in the final minute of the game — once after a 3-pointer from Mike Anderson, and another when Cade Carpenter scored on an inbounds play. But Snow and Tsosie hit two free throws apiece in the closing seconds to keep Roff at bay.
The first half saw Konawa lead 14-9 early in the second period before eight consecutive RHS points gave the visiting Tigers a 17-14 advantage. Sophomore Caynaan Garner hit a pull-up jumper with less than a minute left to get Konawa within 24-22 at halftime.
Snow finished with 19 points, nine rebounds and two steals, while Tsosie was right behind with 18 points and five boards. Silas Larney had five steals for Konawa.
“We have some young guys that play like young guys at times, but they also step up and make plays at times,” Garner said.
Konawa big man Branden Davis suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter. He returned in the second quarter but didn’t play in the second half. Garner said Davis re-injured the ankle he had hurt earlier this year, but it didn’t appear as severe this time.
“We’ve been battling these dadgum injuries and sickness all year, and it looks like we’re going to continue that the rest of the season,” Garner said.
Garner said he hoped tournament wins over Moss, Stonewall and Roff can springboard him into the rugged final month of the season. Konawa has road trips to Bethel and Lexington this week before battling Latta in back-to-back games Feb. 4 and 7.
“The boys side of the bracket was pretty good. We’re fortunate to come out of that with the ‘W’," he said. “But we’re entering a tough stretch of our season.”
Roff didn’t have a player hit double digits, but Anderson hit three 3-pointers to finish with nine points. Carpenter contributed eight points and eight rebounds, while Lewis also made eight points. Lonnie Petersen tallied seven points and six rebounds off the bench.
Roff was at Wanette Monday night and travels to Stonewall on Friday.