LOCUST GROVE - This was more like it.
Miami used a 13-1 burst in the third quarter to take charge during a 61-42 victory over Locust Grove here Friday night, putting a damper on the Pirates' homecoming.
“It was important to really come out and get a win on the road,” Miami coach Rusty Mercer said. “This was our first really true road win. It was a game we were supposed to win, but we haven't always won down here. To come out and do it the way we did was a good sign. I am still concerned with our rebounding, though. We have got to shore that up.”
The win was just the third in the last eight games for the Wardogs, who now are 6-6 overall. They are 3-2 in Verdigris Valley Conference play.
Miami never trailed, but never could open up much breathing room.
The game was tied twice in the first quarter and the Dogs went into the second period with an 11-9 advantage.
Locust Grove matched Miami's scoring through the first five minutes of the second frame.
Trent Turner scored the final six points of the half for the Dogs on a baseline drive, a short jumper and a follow shot. That left MHS with a 30-21 edge at the break.
The Pirates got a jumper and 3-point goal from C.J. Stafford and a free throw from Tyler Downing to counter a trey by James Pickens and a jumper by Michael Chesnut off a pass from Michael Anderson.
A jumper from the middle of the lane by Turner started Miami on its 13-1 run that bumped its lead to 20, 48-28, with 3:08 left in the third. Locust Grove never recovered.
“We talked at half that the game wasn't over,” Mercer said. “We wanted to come out and get it up into double digits as quickly as possible and we put the pedal to the medal.”
The Pirates got back-to-back buckets from Luke Raith and Taylor Wallace to narrow the gap to 48-33, but Jake Roberts and Ethan Delano scored for Miami to give it a 19-point margin heading into the final frame.
Each team scored nine points over the last eight minutes.
“We shot the ball well and had 19 assists,” Mercer said. “Michael had a low-scoring night (getting just six points) but he had 10 assists. That was a big night for him. We got Jake back shooting the ball the way he's capable of doing. Trent came out and had a double-figure game as well as Pick (Pickens).
“We had three guys in double figures and one with 10 assists - this is what we're looking for.”
Pickens matched his career-best effort by scoring 15 points for the Wardogs. He also had 15 at Joplin, Mo., last month.
Roberts and Turner contributed 14 and 12, respectively.
Mercer was really pleased with the fact that Miami had only six turnovers on the night.
“We had some early then didn't turn it over much the rest of the night,” he said. “We only four at halftime and only two in the second half. From the 4-minute mark in the first quarter to the 4-min of the fourth, we had only two turnovers. We really took care of the ball.”
There were only 15 fouls called in the game, resulting in only 10 trips to the free throw line.
The Pirates were 3-of-9 while the Wardogs made their only chance.
Miami, which played Vinita Saturday night, is idle until 7:30 p.m. Thursday, when it meets Springfield (Mo.) Central at the Student Activity Center in a Boys' Blue pool game at the Northeastern A&M High School Tournament.
Miami 11 19 22 9 - 61
Locust Grove 9 12 12 9 - 42
Miami - Pickens 15, Roberts 14, Turner 12, Chesnut 8, Anderson 6, Rodriguez 2, Hunter 2, Delano 2.
Locust Grove - Wallace 9, Stafford 7, Caldwell 7, Raith 5, Downing 3, Dawson 3, Soldier 2, Benefield 2, Haag 2, Harrison 2.
3-point goals - Roberts 4, Pickens 2, Wallace 3, Dawson 1, Stafford 1.