Miami’s boys head into the holiday break not the way they intended.
The Wardogs were outscored 27-17 over the final 12 minutes and wound up dropping a 56-46 decision to Pryor in a Verdigris Valley Conference basketball game here Tuesday night.
“Really this was a game we really needed for several reasons,” Miami coach Rusty Mercer said. “We didn’t want to go into the break with a loss, but it was more important for 5A seedings on down the road. But you have to give them a lot of credit. They came in and played really well.”
The Wardogs, who led only briefly in the first quarter, head into a 21-day break in the throes of a four-game losing streak.
They lost to Berryhill in the finals of the Sperry Tournament, then dropped games to Webb City, Mo., and Joplin, Mo., over the weekend.
“I feel a lot better about our effort than it was over the weekend,” Mercer said. “Sometimes you have to tip your hat to an opponent. I thought they came in and played great. I thought their defense was really good. That was enough.”
Back-to-back buckets by Michael Anderson capped a 10-2 run by the Wardogs that created a 29-29 tie with 4:02 left in the third quarter.
Following a time out, the Tigers got a driving layup from Parker Ballard and a baseline drive from Weston Cox to take the lead for good with 95 seconds left in the quarter.
The closest Miami would get the rest of the night was one point (33-32) when Trent Turner drilled a trey a half-minute after the shot by Cox.
The Tigers were up 36-34 heading into the final stanza, then held a 20-12 advantage over the final eight minutes. Nine of the visitors’ last 13 points came on free throws.
“They hit 11 of 13 in the game, and a lot of those were late when we were behind,” Mercer said. “We played from behind all night.”
Cox had 17 points to lead the Pryor scoring. Dayton Dobrinski and Phillip Galvan had 15 and 13, respectively.
Miami also had three players in double figures, topped by Jake Roberts with 14. Anderson had 13 and Turner chipped in with 12.
“We didn’t get a lot of second opportunities,” Mercer said. “They kept us off the boards pretty well.”
Miami’s only lead of the night came when Turner connected on a baseline drive, then Anderson drained a trey to make it 5-2 with 4:47 left in the first quarter.
Pryor went on a 7-0 run to go up 10-5.
The Tigers carried a six point lead into the second quarter and they were up 24-19 at the break.
The Wardogs were 15-of-29 from 2-point range and were only 5-of-15 from 3-point range, including a 2-of-9 showing down the stretch.
“We matched up with them well,” Mercer said. “Some nights, it goes for you and some nights it doesn’t. This was their night. They shot the ball well early to get them off to a good start, then down the stretch in the fourth quarter, they hit some big shots.”
Miami is off until Jan. 8, when it entertains Grove in a Valley outing.
“Every one of the four losses, we’ve been in it and have had a chance to win, but haven’t done it,” Mercer said. “We’ve got to play better in big situations and we’ve got to continue to get better.”
Pryor 16 8 12 20 — 56
Miami 10 9 15 12 — 46
Pryor — Cox 17, Dobrinski 15, Galvan 13, Ballard 8, Jarboe 2, Eichelberger 1.
Miami — Roberts 14, Anderson 13, Turner 12, Delano 4, Chesnut 3.
3-point goals — Dobrinski 3, Cox 2, Roberts 2, Turner 2, Anderson 1.