By Chuck Reherman
Yukon went into their first home game of the 2019 part of the season looking to continue their win streak.
No. 20 Southmoore came in and played a spoiler’s role.
Southmoore hit key shots down the stretch to hold off the Millers, 69-63, in a Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference game Tuesday night at YHS.
The Millers, 3-6 overall, had rallied to within a bucket late in the third quarter and had chances to tie the game. But, a missed shot, a turnover and a second miss led to a 7-0 Southmoore run that gave the Sabercats control of the game.
“We got back to two and four and were right there, then big free throws hurt us,” Miller head coach Kevin Ritter said. “We got it back to three in the first half and missed a free throw and they come back and hit a shot and take a five or six point lead.
“If we don’t get that technical, they are only up by two late in the game instead of six,” he said. “It was better, it is not a moral victory, but we didn’t regress either. We just didn’t do enough to win the game.
“And, Southmoore is ranked, they are 6-3 so it was not like it was a bottom of the barrel team. We told the guys that it in basketball it is who hits shots. They hit a couple of shots in the second half when they needed to and how many shots in the second and fourth quarter that bounced on the rim three or four times and fell in and we got shots we wanted to take and missed. We are getting closer and getting better, I like the fact that we are still going up and as long as we are doing that I’m okay with it.”
The Millers trailed 43-34 with 3:19 left in the third quarter and went on a 7-0 run a pair of field goals from Carson Price a trey from Austin Ruth to close the lead to 43-41 with 2:20 remaining in the frame.
Southmoore did counter with a 7-0 run of their own to push the lead back to nine, 50-41, with 1.2 seconds left in the quarter.
A Carson Lambakis shot cut the lead to six early in the fourth. YHS made a run with a pull up jumper from Price and a baseline jumper from Ruth to cut the lead to three, 55-52, with 5:11 left.
A Domingo Ward trey stretched the lead back to six, 58-52 and used a pair of Ward free throws made it 62-56 with 3:32 remaining. A three-point play from Tyler Dechant cut the lead to 62-59 with 3:21 remaining.
A Ward field goal and a follow-up shot from Jordan Thompson stretched the lead to 66-59. The Millers got the lead back down to five, but ran out of time. Dechant’s field goal with 16 seconds left made it a 68-63 game.
“We had chances to make it close, we just have to finish it when we get the chances,” Ritter said. “We still showed that we were still progressing and we are learning to play against the good teams.
“Their big kid (Sam Godwin) is a good player and he can play off the Thompson kid,” he said. “Thompson didn’t look to shoot as much tonight, but he is a tough handle. If we play them again we make some adjustments, but they made some nice calls against us.”
The Millers did have the lead through a part of the first half. Shots from Lambakis and Dechant opened a 7-3 lead. YHS led 14-12 after one, but trailed 30-22 at the intermission.
Dechant led the Miller scoring with 21 points, hitting 10 of 11 shots from the floor and one of two at the line. Price added 13 points, Ruth had 10, Lambakis nine and Zac Cantwell five.
The Millers hit 26 of 44 shots from the floor (three of 11 from three-point range) and was eight of 13 at the free throw line.
By Chuck Reherman