YUKON — Despite an unexpectedly stagnant start, Sequoyah-Tahlequah coach Jay Herrin maintained his calm.
“We don't like to call timeouts at the first sign of trouble,” Herrin said. “We teach our kids to fight through trouble.”
The coaching ploy worked, and Herrin's team responded, shaking off the sluggish opening and cruising to a 73-65 win over Sperry in the first round of the Class 3A boys basketball tournament.
Sequoyah was down 12-4 in the opening minutes, but an 18-0 run, extending into the second quarter, catapulted the Indians into a comfortable lead they wouldn't give up.
Tyler Jones sparked the comeback, scoring 14 first-half points off the bench, en route to a game-high 17. Senior Ryan Helsley added 15 for Sequoyah.
Sperry made a late push, drilling four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, but Sequoyah continued to make the necessary plays at big times, riding the momentum of that impressive first-half run to victory.
"Eventually it's up to the kids and the kids have to make plays," Herrin said. "And once they did, we got on a run and it kept going."
Sequoyah, now 20-8 on the season, faces the winner of Okemah and Crooked Oak at 10:30 a.m. Friday at State Fair Arena. Sperry ends the year at 23-5.