Phoenix Staff Reports
If the Oktaha boys basketball game at Crowder on Tuesday was a sign of things to come, the Tigers is worthy of its No. 2 ranking in Class 2A.
The Tigers began the 2012-13 season by dismantling the Demons 77-40 in Crowder.
“It was a usual opening-night game,” said Oktaha coach Jim Glover. “That’s about all I can say.”
The Tigers were led by Blake Pittman, son of girls coach Chester Pittman, who poured in 17 points and Dustin Leach who chipped in 15 points. Eric Crenshaw led Crowder with 12 points.
Oktaha took control of the game early and never looked back, racing out to a 21-10 lead after the first quarter. By haltime, the Tigers had stretched their lead to 41-20 and made it even larger by the end of the third quarter, outscoring Crowder 24-12, to grab a 65-32 advantage heading into the final stanza.
“Crowder’s down this year and so it was a good start against a team that is probably below average,” Glover said. “We looked a little ragged at times because it was our first night.”
The Oktaha Lady Tigers were equally as impressive as they opened their season with a 66-24 win over the Crowder Lady Demons.
“For our first game, we did a pretty good job but we still have some room to improve,” said Oktaha coach Chester Pittman. “We got an opportunity to play all the kids and that’s kinda what we were hoping for – to get off to a good start and we did.
“I thought the defense played really well and the girls put a lot of pressure on (Crowder). We also got good play off the bench.”
Lanessa Grayson led Oktaha in scoring with 14 points while Makayla Baldridge was the only other Lady Tiger to crack the double-figure plateau with 10 points.
“Lanessa and Makayla did a great job of picking up the slack,” Pittman said. “They made up for (Jaylee) Roper being half-way hurt and not playing real stout.”
Oktaha next takes the floor on Friday when it travels to Midway as part of a girls/boys doubleheader.
Braggs boys, girls fall
A young team always has to experience growing pains and that can be said for the Braggs Wildcats boys and girls squads.
The girls let a 4-point fourth-quarter lead slip away in falling at Union Christian Academy of Fort Smith, Ark., 54-45 while the boys saw an 8-point advantage heading into the final stanza disappear in dropping a 73-53 decision to the Eagles. The Lady Wildcats fell to 1-4 on the year while the boys’ record slipped to 3-2.
“Both of Union Christian’s squads are very basketball smart,” said Braggs’ boys and girls coach Don Cochran. “We’re young and we just have to learn how to close out games. That will come with experience.”
Payton York was the leading scorer for the Wildcats with a game-high 26 points while Cassie Harris led the Lady Wildcats with 15 points.