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By Glen Miller
Guthrie hit two free throws with four seconds left as the No.21 Bluejays held off a late rally by El Reno High School’s boys basketball team for a 43-39 victory.
The loss left El Reno, ranked No.11 in the same Class 5A poll, with an 11-9 overall record. The Indians dropped their final two games in Suburban Conference play to close with a 6-6 record.
El Reno trailed by seven points, 39-32, with 1:37 to play before Michael Jones hit the front end of a two-shot trip to the foul line with 1:26 left.
Bryon Elledge followed with a driving layup with 50.2 seconds to make it a four-point game. On the ensuing Guthrie possession, Elledge stole the ball at mid-court and raced to the frame for an uncontested layup to make it a 39-37 game with 34.1 seconds left.
Guthrie answered the 5-0 run with two free throws with 30.3 seconds to play. El Reno’s Sage Lamebull countered with a layup off an assist from Elledge with 21.2 seconds left to again make it a two-point game.
El Reno had a chance to tie the game when Lamebull blocked a shot that led to a Guthrie turnover with 10.2 seconds showing. However, Jones was unable to handle a high pass near EHS’ baseline and the Indians turned over the ball – forcing Rodney Haydon’s team to foul.
The ending was indicative of the game which was tied at 7-all after one period. El Reno got a 3-pointer from Justin Harris and a turnaround jumper from Josh Bushyhead late in the second period but still found itself in a 16-all stalemate at intermission.
There were six ties and four lead changes in the third period. El Reno evened the score at 26-all on a Jones jumper (3:12), then again at 28-all on two Bushyhead free throws with 1:57 left.
However, El Reno would miss its final six shot attempts of the frame to go into the final eight minutes down 32-28.
Justin Brown, who fouled out with 2:49 to play, was the only El Reno player in double digits with 10 points, three assists and a rebound. Jones closed with eight points, five boards, two assists and a steal.
Bushyhead scored eight points and grabbed three boards off the bench, while Lamebull finished with six points, four boards, four assists and a steal.
Elledge added four points, four assists, a rebound and a steal to the losing effort, while Harris had four boards and an assist to go along with the lone 3-pointer.