By DAVID MILLER
SAND SPRINGS — There was a playoff atmosphere in the Sand Springs gym Tuesday night as the Ponca City varsity teams opened their 2019-2020 season.
The atmosphere came from two teams having high expectations for the season squaring off in the girls game—a replay of the three times the two teams battled last season.
Sand Springs won two of the three games last season including one in the Class 6A state playoffs.
The intense rivalry really got its impetus when Ponca City opened last season with a win over Sand Springs, ranked No. 1 in the state at the time.
Sand Springs’ won the rematch in Sand Springs and then the game in the tournament which also was played in Sand Springs.
Tuesday, it was the Lady Sandites winning again, finishing with a 62-47 margin over the Lady Cats.
Tuesday’s boys game didn’t have quite the same electric atmosphere, but Sand Springs came away with a 75-64 victory.
The Ponca City girls got started as if they were going to take charge and led by 13-7 at one point. But then the Lady Sandites began to chip away at the lead and the first quarter ended with Ponca City leading only 13-12. The Lady Sandites then began to take advantage of numerous Ponca City turnovers and assumed a lead that would expand to 23-19 at the half.
The third quarter belonged to Sand Springs and its lead continued to grow until the end of the period when the score was 40-29. Ponca City was able to score 18 points in the final period, almost as many as it had scored in the entire first half, but Sand Springs was able to put 22 points on the board to secure a big victory.
A good part of the Lady Cats’ game came at the free throw line, where they hit 16 of 19 attempts.
Karis Branstetter was the leading scorer with 12 points. Carlie Badley and Ryley Beard each had 10 points.
In the boys game, the Wildcats hung tough during the early going, but Sand Springs gradually pulled away. The Sandites led 20-13 after one quarter. The second period was very similar to the first with the Sandites leading 40-26 at the half. Sand Springs outscored the Wildcats 18-11 in the third period and had a 58-37 advantage at the end. Ponca City came on strong in the fourth quarter, taking advantage of Sand Springs liberal substitution and pulled within 11 at the final horn.
Anthony Gazaway had a big night for the Wildcats, scoring 20 points. Also in double figures was Justin Thompson with 10.
Both teams will be off until Dec. 5 when they each open in tournaments. The girls will play in an event in Bixby and the boys will compete at Cleveland.
SAND SPRINGS 62,
PONCA CITY 47
Ponca City 13 6 10 18 — 47
Sand Springs 12 11 17 22 — 62
Ponca City— Karis Branstetter, 12; Carlie Badley 10; Ryley Beard, 10; Baylee Fincher, 8; Ashlynn Fincher, 7
SAND SPRINGS 75,
PONCA CITY 64
Ponca City 13 13 11 27— 64
Sand Springs 20 20 18 17 —75
Ponca City — A. Gazaway, 20; J. Thompson, 10; C. Porter, 7; S. Faulkner, 6; L. Seals, 5; G. Dye, 5; C. Crandall, 5; E. Phillips, 2; T. Dewberry, 2; D. Loefele, 2.