It is often said free throws win and lose basketball games. That scenario played out as Class 4A’s 9th ranked Piedmont Wildcats down Guthrie inside the Piedmont gymnasium.
Piedmont took advantage of hitting eight of 11 free throws in the fourth quarter alone to down the Jays 44-42 Tuesday evening. As a team, the Wildcats finished 12-of-17 from the charity stripe while the Jays were 3-of-4 in the game.
Guthrie (7-5) took advantage of a 10-2 run in the final 3:43 of the first half to gain their first lead at the buzzer thanks to freshmen Kai Callins.
Callins drilled a three-point shot with 1:45 to play in the second quarter and on the final possession, the freshmen sensation drilled a fade away shot just inside the arc to give his Jays a 21-19 lead at the break.
Callins finished the game with 13 points for his third highest scoring output on the season by shooting 5-of-7 from the field, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. His effort was good enough for the Farmers and Merchants Bank Player of the Game.
Piedmont’s Keith Vick hit the first shot in the third quarter, but the Jays then went on an 11-2 run in a 2:17 span to take a 32-23 lead, but the Cats responded with three consecutive 3-point plays in the next 2:17 to tie the game at 32-all. Junior Codee Gross hit two free throws to give the Jays a 34-32 advantage going into the final quarter.
The Jays started the final quarter with an 8-2 run in the first 4;29, but the Cats started to chip away from the free throw line to outscored the Jays 10-0 in the final 3:31 of the game.
Piedmont grabbed their first second half lead (43-42) with 22 seconds left in the game on two made free throws. Despite the deficit, Guthrie had two opportunities to take the lead, or tie the game in the final 22 seconds.
With under 10 seconds and down by one, senior Kentrell Brothers penetrated the lane, but his running, right hand shot was no good and was called for his fifth foul on the rebound to send the Cats back to the line.
Piedmont’s Collin Bricker missed the first free throw, but hit the second to give Piedmont a 2-point lead. Gross quickly brought the ball up the floor and had a good look at the basket with a left-handed shot from eight feet away, but the ball hit the back of the rim to end the game and the Jays three-game win streak.
Guthrie will quickly shift their attention to the Carl Albert Invitational. The Jays open play with Lawton MacArthur with an 11:30 tip Thursday morning. Guthrie is 2-4 this season in tournament play with both wins coming on Saturday’s.
Guthrie Scoring: Kai Callins 13, Kentrell Brothers 12, Codee Gross 11, Tim Zupo 2, Richard Brothers 2, Shron Parker 2
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