Despite trailing by 18 points in the first half on Friday night, the Guthrie High School boys’ basketball team never quit. And they could have, a few times.
The Jays outscored Class 5A’s fourth-ranked El Reno Indians in the fourth quarter by 10, 23-13, to pull off the road upset 67-64.
Guthrie, now winners of three straight, improves to 6-5 overall with by far the best win to date. El Reno, who had won their first 9 of 10 games, has dropped their last two games and falls to 9-3.
Guthrie went over four minutes without a bucket at the end of the first quarter and into the second quarter.
El Reno built up a 25-7 lead with 6:05 until halftime, but Guthrie returned the favor with an 11-0 run to pull within seven points, 25-18, which would be the halftime deficit, 35-28.
Both teams managed 16 points in the third quarter as the Indians maintained the seven-point advantage.
However, Guthrie took over in the final period.
To begin the fourth quarter, along with a late Nate Benford third-quarter bucket, Guthrie put together a 15-0 run to pull ahead 59-51 with 4:22 left to play.
As expected, El Reno put a run together down the stretch and pulled within a point, 63-62, with 54 seconds left.
On the next possession, Guthrie senior Jaylen Chelf dished out a great assist to Corbin Witt for a layup to increase the lead back to three, 65-62.
With a bucket, the Indians were back within a point, 65-64, with only 15 ticks left on the clock.
Following two wise timeouts called by head coach Sean Morgan to save possessions, junior Jaylen Harper nailed two crucial free throws to up the lead, 67-64, with four seconds left.
El Reno had one last, wide-open look at a three to send the game into overtime but missed as time expired.
Harper finished with 20 points.
Lady Jays drop contest as coach returns to El Reno
Guthrie’s first-year head coach Breck Clark spent three seasons on the home bench for the Lady Indians. On Friday night, she sat on the visitor’s bench for a key Suburban Conference game.
Clark and her team gave the fourth-ranked Lady Indians everything they wanted but came up short in a 57-45 setback.
The Jays built up a 13-12 first-quarter lead only to see El Reno go into the break up one, 25-24.
Trailing by three going into the fourth quarter, El Reno outscored the Jays 19-10 in the final 8:00.
The game was tied at 38-all when El Reno went on a 9-0 run to open the game.
Guthrie’s three-game winning streak comes to a stop and stands at 6-4 overall. El Reno, winners of two straight, improves to 9-3.