Foul trouble, free throws hamper Pirates in loss
Mar. 4—NOBLE — The Byng High School boys basketball team had things going their way during the first nine minutes of their Class 4A Area Tournament battle with No. 17 Inola Thursday afternoon inside The Den at Noble High School.
In fact, it looked like the 19th-ranked Pirates were a basket here or a defensive stop there from breaking the game wide open.
However, Byng got into foul trouble and Inola used a free-throw fest in the second half and surged past Byng late in a 47-38 win.
Inola lived to play another day with a 21-6 record, while Byng saw its season come to an end at 20-9.
The game was deadlocked at 10-10 before Byng scored nine straight points, capped by a 3-pointer from playmaker Malachi Schilreff to open the second quarter, to grab a 19-10 lead. At that point, it appeared that Byng might start to take control of the contest. The Pirates limited Inola to 3-of-14 (21.4%) shooting from the floor during that stretch.
"We simply did not do enough to win. I thought we started the game well, but there were several instances where we had a chance to increase our lead early and pull away, we were just not able to convert," said Byng boys head coach Zack Samaha.
The Longhorns turned things around, ending the second period on a 13-3 surge and after Aidan Clark beat the buzzer with a fast break bucket, Inola led 23-22 at halftime.
The Longhorns led by as many as five points in the third quarter, but this time it was Byng who battled back.
Junior Mark Birtshead hit a short jumper to end the third period for the Pirates that tied the game at 33-all.
However, Schilreff picked up his third foul early in the third quarter, his fourth one with 43 seconds left in the period and then fouled out just as soon as Inola inbounded the ball to start the fourth period. Life without the talented junior over the final eight minutes of the game was not kind to the Pirates. Schilreff exited the game with just six points, far below his season average.
Byng made just two field goals and went 1-of-5 from the free-throw line in the final period. Ryan Hamilton scored on an inbound play with 6:39 left that tied the game at 35-35 and the Pirates were still in the hunt when Gary Raney scored on a putback and followed that with a free throw at the 2:13 mark that kept Byng within 40-38.
The Pirates wouldn't score again and Inola ended the game with seven unanswered free throws.
"Our defense kept us in the game but we were not able to get enough shots to fall to put us over the top. The further you go in the playoffs, there is a smaller margin for error, and the smaller the margins are between victory and defeat. When you miss free throws and layups, you put yourself in a hole and we were not able to climb out," Samaha said. "I thought our kids battled the whole way, it just wasn't our day."
The Longhorns made just three total field goals in the entire second half. The rest of their points game at the charity stripe. Inola made 18-of-25 free throws over the final two frames, went 12-of-17 in the fourth quarter and finished an incredible 25-of-37 from the stripe overall. Inola went 0-of-14 from 3-point territory.
Byng shot only 11 free throws in the entire game but could have helped their own cause by making more than four. The Pirates were whistled for 25 total fouls.
Gary Raney came off the bench and led the Byng offense with 10 points, including one 3-point basket. Tyler Raney joined Schilreff with six points. BHS 6-7 post player Bo Boatwright scored just four points but also had six rebounds and six blocked shots.
Clark led the Longhorns with a game-high 20 points. He went 6-of-8 from the free-throw line and also had seven rebounds and three steals. Logan Hayes also reached double figures for Inola with 10 points. Trevor Groff scored nine points on the strength of 7-of-8 shooting from the free-throw line.
Inola won the battle of the boards 45-30.
The Pirates were also without the services of junior starter Cooper McCage.
It was the last game for Byng seniors Baylor Ward, Ryan Hamilton and Nahum Grant-Louie.
"I am very proud of our team this season. 20 wins in 4A is nothing to scoff at and I know after the disappointment of losing eases, we will look back and realize what a good season we had with all the adversity and injuries we had to overcome.," Samaha said. "We are not content as a program and will look to find a way to continue to improve and advance further next year in the playoffs."
By The Numbers
Class 4A Area
Inola 47, Byng 38
BYNG 16 6 11 5 — 38
INOLA 10 13 10 14 — 47
BYNG: Gary Raney 4-5, 1-2, 10; Malachi Schilreff 2-8, 1-4, 6; Tyler Raney 2-12, 2-2, 6; Mark Birdshead 2-6, 0-2, 5; Ryan Hamilton 2-5, 0-2, 4; Bo Boatwright 2-4, 0-0, 4; Camby Poorbuffalo 1-3, 0-0, 3. Totals: 15-44, 4-11, 38.
INOLA: Aidan Clark 7-13, 6-9, 20; Logan Hayes 2-6, 6-10, 10; Trevor Groff 1-5, 7-8, 9; Jackson Welch 1-9, 2-4, 4; Caden Thomas 0-5, 4-6, 4. Totals: 11-41, 25-37, 47.
Turnovers: Byng 14, Inola 12.
Steals: Byng 5, Inola 5 (Clark 3).
Rebounds: Byng 30 (Schilreff 6, Boatwright 6); Inola 45 (Welch 8).
3-point goals: Byng 4-16 (Schilreff 1-3, Poorbuffalo 1-3, G. Raney 1-1, Birdshead 1-2). Inola 0-14.
Fouled out: Schilreff (B).