Miami’s fate in its 50-44 Verdigris Valley loss to Pryor Tuesday night was sealed in the middle two quarters.
“We lost it in the middle two quarters,” Miami coach Rusty Mercer said. “We didn’t finish the second quarter very well and we didn’t start the third quarter very well. We just muddled our way through it. We’ve got to put a full 32 minutes together.”
The loss was the fifth straight for the Wardogs, who now embark on a five-game stretch that has them playing five ranked teams.
They’re at 4A No. 17 Locust Grove Friday, travel to Seneca, Mo., Saturday, then meet Tulsa Lincoln Christian, Roland and Welch in the NEO tournament.
“We will have to really move forward and find ourselves,” Mercer said.
The Wardogs trailed Pryor by 10 at the half (20-19) then managed only two points in the first four minutes of the third period
That left them staring up from a 33-21 hole.
They managed to melt the deficit down to seven late in the game when Cade Pogue drained back-to-back 3-point goals. Despite turnovers on consecutive possessions, Miami still had a chance.
The Tigers missed the front end of a one-and-one, then Keaton Blevins drove for a layup to make it 46-41 with 1:17 remaining.
Pryor iced the win by converting on three of four free throws in a half-minute span.
“It was too late at that point,” Mercer said. “It would have taken something miraculous after those back-to-back 3s.”
Three players scored in double figures for the Wardogs, topped by Casey Hunter with 13 points.
Tony Rodriguez and Blevins finished with 12 and 10, respectively.
“We just couldn’t string enough shots together,” Mercer said. “Tonight was a classic case of us waiting for our shots to drop to provide us energy. We can’t wait around for things to go well on the offensive end for us to have any defensive energy.
“Whether the shots are going or not, we have to get down and be ready defensively. It’s important to us.”
Brady Jarboe had 16 points for the Tigers, who also picked up 11 from Parker Ballard and 10 from Jordan Madole.