The Grizzlies clinched a 58-49 victory over visiting archrival Sequoyah with a strong performance on the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.
Creekview coach Casey Gramling thinks it was just what the team needed in Region 7AAAAA play.
“That was big,” he said. “We talk about executing. It’s still not where we wanted to be, but we executed a lot better in the half-court and better at the free-throw line.”
The Grizzlies (11-9, 6-4) were 14-for-18 at the line in the fourth quarter alone. For the night, they were 19-for-24.
“We said, if we win this, it might turn our season around,” Gramling said. “We still think we have a chance to make the state tournament.”
Sequoyah (16-4, 9-1) entered the game on a four-game winning streak and was unbeaten in the region. However, the Chiefs were playing from behind from the start.
Creekview’s Austin Graham hit a 3-pointer to open the game, igniting a 12-3 run by the Grizzlies. Blaine White and Solomon Ajose hit a trio of 3-pointers to account for the Chiefs’ scoring in the first as Creekview led 14-9.
Sequoyah fell behind 16-11 before mustering a rally. Ajose started it off with a short jumper, and by the time White laid the ball in with 3:50 left in the first half, Sequoyah was up 17-16. Baskets by Ajose and Logan Taylor gave the Chiefs the largest lead they held all night, 21-17.
Creekview tied it at 21-all with a basket by Brandon Pressley and stayed within two points for the remainder of the half. But Sequoyah took a 25-23 into the break when Ajose hit a pair of free throws with 4 seconds remaining.
Ajose, who finished the game with 21 points, was 9-for-11 from the free-throw line.
The teams traded points for most of the third quarter until back-to-back shot scored by Griffin Ghesquiere put Creekview up 34-29 for its largest lead since the first quarter. A pair of free throws by Graham made it 36-29 before White hit a shot from halfcourt at the buzzer to close the gap to 36-32. The 3-pointer was the only field goal the Chiefs made in the quarter.
With Graham and Pressley taking turns on the free-throw line, Creekview established a 10-point lead, 44-34. The Chiefs attempted to cut the gap as Dalton Satterfield made a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, but when Sequoyah began to foul to try to regain possession, the Grizzlies just held their lead by connecting on the free-throw line.
Ghesquiere led four Grizzlies in double figures with 14 points. Graham and Pressley each scored 13, while Beau Blackwell finished with 11 — seven of which came in the fourth quarter.
“We still have a lot of areas to get better in, but I’m super proud of the seniors after (Tuesday),” Gramling said. “That was a big win.”
Sequoyah won the first meeting between the teams 77-59, and Gramling is hoping his team gets one more shot at its county rival — next time in the region tournament.
History hadn’t always been so kind to the Grizzlies.
“We came in (Tuesday night) and we squared the series up,” Gramling said. “We might get a chance to see them again, so we might be able to turn the trend. They are a great team. They are well-coached. They are high-character kids.
“It’s a good rivalry. It’s a healthy rivalry. I’m just proud to watch the kids play out there. We were on the good end (Tuesday).”
White scored 11 points for Sequoyah, including three 3-pointers. Satterfield finished with nine points.
Creekview 53, Sequoyah 47: The Lady Grizzlies got off to a fast start as they outscored the Lady Chiefs 13-2 in the first quarter.
Maggie Hartman accounted for the lone basket by Sequoyah (8-12, 4-6 Region 7AAAAA) and finished the game with nine points.
Creekview’s Hannah Murphy led all scorers with 20 points and went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line. Emma Cook added 14 points for Creekview (16-4, 9-1), which is now riding an 11-game winning streak.
Tori Rogers was 5-for-5 from the free-throw line for Sequoyah, which trailed by 11 at the half and by eight points after three quarters. Emily Ryan, who is coming back from a knee injury, led the Lady Chiefs with 16 points and was 7-for-8 from the line.