For overtime to come in the first place, the Chiefs (15-3, 8-0) were forced to make a last-second defensive stop in regulation against a player that they had rarely slowed all night, Pope’s Andrew Mendel.
With the game tied at 56 and only 5 seconds remaining, Mendel drove into the lane and went up for a shot, but he found the Sequoyah defense waiting.
Rather than shoot, Mendel was forced to hang onto the ball and was called for traveling. After Sequoyah’s Brandon Ingleton attempted cross-court heave fell short, the game entered its first period of overtime.
The Greyhounds (11-6, 5-2) suffered a blow barely a minute into the period when Devo Bizzard, who was playing in only his second game of the season, was forced to exit the game with an injury to his right ankle.
Bizzard was Pope’s second-highest scorer at that point, having totaled 25 points.
Bizzard’s exit didn’t stop the Greyhounds from holding the ball with less than 10 seconds remaining, the game tied at 60 and another shot to win it.
Once again, the ball fell to Mendel, who once again found the Chiefs waiting.
Mendel could only get off a wild 3-point shot that missed wide to send the game into the second overtime.
It proved to be the final chance the Greyhounds had to win the game, as Sequoyah took over in the game’s final minutes.
After a 3-pointer from Dalton Satterfield made it 63-60, the Chiefs found themselves up 65-61 thanks to a pair of free throws from point guard Austin Taylor with less than 2 minutes remaining.
Aggressive pressure from the Chiefs paid off on Pope’s next possession, as Satterfield stole the ball and ran the length of the court before dunking it with just over a minute remaining.
Three free throws later — two for Pope and one for Sequoyah — the Chiefs were able to run out the clock out for the victory.
Sequoyah coach Jeremy Adams was thrilled with his team’s determination to emerge from the contest with the victory.
“We refused to lose (Friday),” he said. “We just had the right mindset. This group hasn’t always shown that mentality, but they did (Friday). This is a hug win for us.”
Leading the Chiefs in scoring was Solomon Ajose with 25 points. Satterfield finished with 15, Ingleton with 13 and Preston Skersick with nine.
Pope coach Pat Abney lamented his team’s inability to spread the scoring around and rely on only two players, Mendel and Bizzard, to score more than two points.
“They had a more balanced attack,” Abney said. “They had five guys out on the court that could score, and we didn’t.”
Mendel finished the game with 34 points, while Bizzard finished with his 25 — 18 of which came on six 3s.
Pope 62, Sequoyah 50: A 23-point second quarter allowed the Lady Greyhounds to pull away.
Up only seven with less than 4 minutes remaining in the second, Pope (13-4, 5-2) outscored Sequoyah (7-11, 3-5) by a 14-1 edge in the time remaining to take a 36-16 lead into halftime.
Pope never relinquished the lead again.
Kierra Henry scored a game-high 23 points for the Lady Greyhounds, while Andrea Brown finished with 19.
Tori Rogers and Emily Ryan were the only Sequoyah players to break double digits, Rogers finishing with 15 and Ryan 10.