VINITA — This was one of those proverbial heartbreakers.
Missing a number of free throws down the stretch as well as a potential game-tying basket down the stretch, Miami suffered a 44-42 loss to Vinita here Friday, Feb. 7.
“We had way too many chances — unfortunate really,” said Miami coach Rusty Mercer. “I feel bad for the kids. It’s been that type of year. To get a chance to get one, especially against Vinita on the road. …”
The Wardogs pulled to within one (43-42) on a bucket by Jackson Satterwhite with 3:55 remaining, but a free throw by Cain Anderson for the Hornets with two minutes remaining created what would be the final margin.
Miami missed the front end of three one-and-ones and both ends of a two-shot free throw chance in the waning minutes.
“(We had) several opportunities,” Mercer said.
Vinita led by two after the opening frame, but stretched that to 25-16 by intermission.
The Wardogs held a 15-9 edge in the third quarter and outscored the hosts 11-10 in the final eight minutes.
“We’re competing and are playing hard, which is something we talk about all the time,” Mercer said. “We’re not just playing for today. We’re playing for our seniors,’ but we’re also playing for our future.”
“It was interesting because Tony (Vinita coach Tony Roach) and I were talking after the game — they’ve had a long year too — that both teams down the stretch looked like they didn’t know how to win. We gave each other opportunities. They came out on top, but it looked like both of us didn’t know how to finish it off.”
Zach Smith and Keaton Jinks had 11 and 10 points, respectively, for the Dogs.
Karson Jinks and Jackson Satterwhite finished with seven each while Trey Tanner had four and Cole Botts contributed three.
D.J. Ramsey’s 12 points topped the scoring for the Hornets.
The Wardogs now embark on a grueling stretch where they play six games in two weeks — Monday at home with Afton, Tuesday at Oologah, Friday at home with Claremore Sequoyah, Feb. 17 at home with the Green Country Defenders and Feb. 18 at home with Jay in the regular season finale.
They then travel to Grove for the 4A Area IV District 8 tournament.