HARTSHORNE — The Canadian Cougars played almost error-free in the first half and looked well on their way to beating the 16th-ranked Tushka Tigers on Wednesday night.
Then the third quarter happened, and a bevy of errors swung the game Tushka’s way.
The Tigers overcame an 8-point deficit in the third, coming back to beat the Cougars, 47-41, in Wednesday’s semifinal of the Hartshorne Pick & Shovel Classic at Taylor Gymnasium.
“Had about a three-minute stretch in which I think we turned it over four straight times, and all four led to points,” Canadian coach Daniel Lokey said. “That just comes with the fact that (the Tigers) play such good defense, and they play it for four quarters. So you have to be that mentally tough offensively for four quarters.”
Canadian will play Wister in the third-place game of the tournament. With inclement weather postponing Thursday’s games, tournament officials couldn’t say whether the third-place game would take place Saturday or next week.
Back-to-back baskets by Chase Shearwood pushed Canadian’s lead to 28-20 early in the third, but Tushka responded with an 11-0 run fueled by Canadian turnovers. A bad inbounds pass by Canadian led to an easy fastbreak basket by Garrett Wall, then another turnover led to a layup-free-throw combination by Jody Moreland that made it 28-25 Cougars.
Isaac Cooper’s jump shot cut the lead to 1, then Moreland stole a Canadian pass and scored off a fastbreak give-and-go with Sam Ward to put Tushka up 29-28.
“We basically just started playing better defense,” Tushka coach James Pannell said. “We were a little more disciplined; we followed our defensive rules a lot better; we got more active and aggressive.”
Cooper’s jump shot made it 31-28 Tigers. Cooper led his team with 15 points and also enabled Tushka’s other shooters to get free with his ability to penetrate into the shooting lanes.