SENECA, Mo. - This was a situation Rusty Mercer and his Miami Wardogs weren't used to.
Being out of a game heading into the fourth quarter.
The Wardogs endured their worst loss of the season Monday night when Seneca, Mo., rolled to a 58-46 victory.
“This is the first game not been in going into the fourth quarter,” Mercer said. “The others we'd had a chance to win. It was a weird feeling to go into the fourth quarter being down what we were (15 points). We hope there are not many more of those nights.”
The loss was the fifth of the season for the Wardogs, whose previous worst loss had been by 10 points to Pryor. The Tigers used a 20-12 run in the fourth quarter to break that game open.
The other losses were by nine to Webb City, Mo., seven to Joplin, Mo,, and two to Bristow.
Monday was different.
A drought of 6:39, spanning the final 4:41 of the second quarter and 1:49 of the second, left Miami looking up from a double-digit hole. The Dogs trailed 30-21 at the break and didn't get their first points of the third quarter until Michael Anderson canned a 12-foot jumper at 6:11.
“We knew this was a good team and they showed just how good they were,” Mercer said. “They do a lot of things well, are very physical and don't make a lot of mistakes on either end.”
Seneca went on a 10-2 run that gave the Indians their biggest lead of the night, 40-25, with 2:37 left in the third.
Miami shaved the deficit down to 40-29 when Trent Turner hit a pair of free throws and Jake Roberts scored from inside.
However, a 3-point goal by Maverick Sonis and buckets from Matt Wilkes and Toby Roelfsema pushed the lead back up to 18 with 31.6 seconds left. A trey by Anderson left the Dogs down 47-32 heading into the fourth.
The Wardogs, clearing the bench down the stretch, held a 14-11 advantage over the final eight minutes.
“Our energy level defensively and rebounding did not give us a chance to play the type of game we want to play,” Mercer said. “They basically just beat us on the boards on one end and sustained enough on the offensive end against some of the pressure that we did give them that it never gave us a chance to get out and run. We couldn't get them playing faster.”
Anderson headed up the Miami scoring with 15 points. He converted on 6 of 11 field goal attempts and downed three treys.
Pickens finished with eight points and Delano netted seven while coming off the bench.
Patrick Bennett was Seneca's leader with 24 points.
Miami has a chance to bounce back tonight when it entertains Wagoner in a Verdigris Valley Conference game.
“Our kids are disappointed,” Mercer said. “I think they will bounce back. I think we will see a different team.”
Miami 17 4 11 14 - 46
Seneca, Mo. 16 14 17 11 - 58
Miami - Anderson 15, Pickens 8, Delano 7, Hunter 6, Turner 5, Roberts 2, Chesnut 2, Rodriguez 1.
Seneca - Bennett 24, Chester 17, Roelfsema 9, Wilkes 2, Harris 2, Goins 1.
3-point goals - Anderson 3, Turner 1, Sonis 1, Roelfsema 1.