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January 23, 2019 - 00:00
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Jackets pushed to the wire in eventual 49-42 win at Washington

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    JETT STERNBERGER puts up a shot in traffic against Washington last Friday. Sternberger scored 15 points in Kingfisher’s seven-point victory. [Photo by Chris Simon/

Kingfisher’s boys basketball team won a road game against Class 3A’s 15th-ranked team by seven points and everyone was left with one question.

What happened?

That’s the reality the Jackets have created, especially when the average margin in their previous 11 wins was 38 points.

Yet, KHS led Washington by just two points with 2:00 to go last Friday night before pulling away for a 49-42 win in Canadian Valley Conference action.

So, what happened?

“The short version is we didn’t show up ready to go,” said KHS head coach Jared Reese, whose team was 12-1 after the victory, including 9-0 in conference games.

“A longer version would be they’ve got a pretty good team and they shot lights out, limited our possessions and we didn’t play well as a whole,” Reese said.

Washington was able to limit the Jackets to just 43 possessions for the game, well below their average.

On top of that, KHS only shot 42 percent for the game, which included a 25 percent mark (3 of 12) from long range.

Washington, meanwhile, was 10 of 23 (43.5 percent) from beyond the arc.

“We only shot 50 percent from inside the 3-point line, which is way below what we normally do,” Reese said. “That’s the surprising part.”

All those numbers added up to the teams being tied near the end of the first half before Trey Green made it 26-24 on an alley-oop inbounds pass from Bijan Cortes.

Washington was boosted in the first half by Kade Hendrix, who made five 3-pointers.

However, he didn’t make another in the second half.

The Jackets eventually extended their lead to 14 points by the end of the third and went up by 16 with 6:34 left when Matthew Stone put back his own miss.

“If it had been a playoff game, I probably would have pulled the ball out and made them come get us,” Reese said. “But we hadn’t played that many games lately, so I let them keep playing.”

Washington then began to creep back into the game.

Eventually, Manuel Trejo sandwiched 3-pointers around a KHS turnover. The second of those makes, with 2:42 to play, pulled the Warriors within 44-42.

“From the time we got up by 16 to then, we just weren’t very smart offensively,” Reese said. “Our shot selection was a long way from where it needed to be, especially when you’re trying to protect a lead.”

The Jackets ran more than 90 seconds off the clock on their ensuing possession before a cutting Green fed a slashing Stone for a four-point lead with 1:07 to go.

Washington missed its next two 3-point attempts and Green made 3 of 4 free throws over the last minute for the final margin.

Green led the team with 16 points while going 10 of 14 from the line. He also had a team-high eight boards.

Jett Sternberger added 15 points while Stone scored 11. Both tallied seven rebounds.

Hendrix eventually led the Warriors with his 15 points. Trejo finished with 13, including three total treys in the fourth quarter.

“With the way we played, we were lucky to get out of there with the win,” Reese said. “I think our guys will show up ready to play down the road. If not, we could certainly get beat.”

Lady Jackets hang tough

against Washington

Kingfisher’s bid for an upset win fell short in last Friday’s 46-39 defeat at Washington.

“We had our chances,” said KHS girls coach Jay Wood. “We just couldn’t string together enough shots to close the gap enough.”

KHS dropped to 7-7 overall and 4-5 in the Canadian Valley Conference.

Washington, ranked 11th in 3A, never did pull away, but consistently added to its early lead.

Rice University signee Katelyn Crosthwait was the early catalyst as she scored 12 in the first half while Washington staged a 26-19 lead.

Keeping KHS in it was the guard combination of Brooklyn Whipple and Hanna Matthews.

Whipple scored 11 points in the first half while Matthews scored 10 in the second.

Still, KHS couldn’t cut into the Washington lead.

Whipple finished the night with 16 and Whipple

14. The rest of the team combined to score nine points.

Crosthwait led Washington with 16.