Canadian couldn’t answer on its next possession, and on the opposite end Morgan got it to Stites for a layup. A steal lead to a score off an offensive rebound for Smith, then Stites again took a pass from Morgan and laid it in to make it 44-37 Haileyville.
“He was always on my outside hip, so I read him really well,” Stites said of Canadian starting center Ty Weiher, with whom Stites battled most of the night. “After I read him, I got in my groove and I went off.”
Shearwood pulled the Cougars within 4 with a 3-pointer, but an offensive rebound from Morgan led to a jumper from Smith to open the fourth. Canadian missed on back-to-back possessions, then Jason Mayo slashed through the lane, dishing it to Stites at the last second for another layup and a 48-40 lead.
Canadian tried to mount a comeback late in the fourth, with Shearwood scoring 8 points and the Cougars playing a high-pressure full-court defense. But every time Canadian would score, either Mayo (14 points) or Stites would score to keep Haileyville ahead.
Caleb Jarrett’s put-back on an offensive rebound cut Haileyville’s lead to 58-57 with 52 seconds left in the game, but Stites turned aside Shearwood on Canadian’s next possession, then Mayo found Stites for a layup that pushed the lead to 3 with 15 seconds left.
Canadian still had one shot to tie the game. Shearwood threw the ball inbounds, then circled around a screen for a 3-pointer, but his shot clanged off the rim as the buzzer sounded.
Shearwood scored 20 for the Cougars, as did Jarrett.
“I did not know who No. 12 was,” Hull said of Jarrett.
“It’s usually the guy that we leave open that burned us, and he did. He scored 20 points, but he had 16 at halftime. We made an adjustment, and we knew where he was at in the second half.”