Creekview led 48-43 with 2:25 left in the game when Jesse Wood committed his fifth foul and left the game. Over the next 2 minutes, Pope took five trips to the free-throw line and came away with 10 points, with Chase Hutchins doing most of the work and Logan Cooperman chipping in a pair.
The streak of scoring put the Greyhounds (18-8) up 53-48 with 25 seconds to play.
Lane Barth made a pair of free throws for Creekview, but when the Grizzlies fouled in an attempt to get the ball back, Pope only further pulled away.
After the game, Pope coach Pat Abney admitted that free throws typically been a strong suit for his team.
“Ironically, that is normally one of our weaknesses,” Abney said. “We were 29-for-34, so we missed just one free throw (in the fourth). That is the difference in the game. Normally, we aren’t a good free-throw shooting team, so it was nice to see them go in.”
Hutchins finished the game with a team-high 21 points and went 10-for-10 from the free-throw line in the fourth. Cole Childers added 10 points, and Logan Borko finished with nine.
Pope led 14-12 at the end of the first quarter, but thanks to a couple baskets by Hutchins and a 3-pointer by Borko, the Greyhounds’ lead grew to 25-19 at the end of the first half.
Creekview returned to the court on fire in the third. Austin Graham, Jared Johnson and Barth all made 3-pointers, and Graham accounted for seven straight points, including the basket that knotted the game at 32-all with 2:47 left in the third.
Creekview closed with the final seven points of the quarter to take a 39-32 lead into the final period.
Barth led Creekview with 14 points, including 10 in the second half. Cam Cox finished with 10 points and Graham netted nine.
Pope will play Sprayberry on Monday at 4:30 p.m. in the region semifinals at Sequoyah. With their win over Creekview, the Greyhounds assured themselves of a spot in the state tournament for the second straight season.
“We are never going to take that for granted,” Abney said. “We have made it a lot over the years, but any time you make state, it’s a big deal.”