It shaped up as a battle between two key players.
But in the end, Checotah’s senior forward Deshawn Jackson put the Wildcats on his shoulders and got the better of McAlester standout point guard Jalen Erving and his Buffalo teammates as Checotah scooted by McAlester 70-58 in the Large School Boys bracket in the 34th Bedouin Shrine Basketball Tournament Thursday night at Muskogee High’s Ron Milam Gymnasium.
Jackson, who was shut out in the Wildcats opening round loss to Jenks, had a game-high 28 points, 15 of them in a decisive fourth quarter.
“After the poor Jenks game, coach just kind of challenged me tonight and I knew I had to go and deliver,” said the Wildcats senior forward.
For second year coach Jason Dowdy things look much brighter than they did at this time last year when his Wildcats came to town and dropped three games in the tournament.
“It’s hard coming out of the holiday break and playing the big teams we had to play and going 0-for-3,” said Dowdy. “So I’m extremely proud of our kids. We stepped up and played a really good game tonight and now we have a chance to win two out of three this year.”
The Buffaloes had to play short-handed again. Erving, who sat out McAlester’s loss to Sequoyah on Tuesday for disciplinary reasons, got 15 points in the game and was a pain in the Wildcats side all night. But McAlester had to play without their standout power forward Todd Dawkins who was injured while scoring 23 points against the Indians in the first round.
Also for Checotah, DeShay Bear put in 17 points and Cameron Pipe had 10. McAlester (4-5) was led in scoring by Keaton Slater with 18 points while Jackson had his 15 and Eli Boyle added 14.
The Wildcats move on to play Tulsa Hale for fifth place at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Muskogee High while McAlester will play Hilldale at Hilldale at 1:30 for seventh place.