The Ninnekah Owls just kept hanging around.
Whenever Am-Po seemed to be pulling away, the Owls had an answer and clawed their way to the Grady County Tournament championship game with a 56-52 win over the Amber-Pocasset Panthers on Friday in Alex.
The Owls advanced to their first GCT title game since 2009 with the victory. Now in the championship game, the Owls have a chance to win their first GCT championship since 2002.
The Panthers were able to gain some separation in the second quarter, but Ninnekah’s Jackson Curtis helped the Owls stay close. Ninnekah only trailed by one possession going to the second half.
A 3-pointer gave the Owls momentum heading to the fourth quarter. Instead of trailing 37-35 entering the fourth, Conner Garrett’s triple gave the Owls a 38-37 advantage heading to the final period.
Am-Po’s Skylar Croskey took over in the fourth quarter for Am-Po and scored Am-Po’s final 13 points. He led all scorers with 21 points in the game.
But the Owls were able to counter Croskey’s offensive surge and got a clutch fourth quarter from Tyler Hill. Hill scored 13 points in the fourth quarter and helped push Ninnekah's lead out to seven before a late 3-pointer from Croskey.
Curtis and Jett Berry combined for the other five points in the quarter for the Owls.
Hill finished with a team-high 15 points in the victory. Curtis had 14 points for the Owls, and Bash McMillan scored 10 points in the team’s victory.
Ninnekah advanced to Saturday's championship game, scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Am-Po fell to the third-place game, scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.
The consolation semifinals for the girls also took place Friday. Rush Springs defeated Dibble in the first consolation semifinal to advance to Saturday's consolation title game, scheduled for 1 p.m.
Minco defeated Verden.
Editor's note: This story is an online story only.