MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

January 27, 2013

Oktaha rallies late to down Checotah in Mounds tourney

By Kenton Brooks
Phoenix Sports Writer

— MOUNDS – Oktaha’s Dustin Leach and Devon Fry kept the fans on the edge of their seats in the Mounds Tournament boys championship game at Mounds High School’s Carter Field House on Saturday night.

Leach’s 11 fourth-quarter points, including a one-handed layup with 23.6 seconds left in the game, and Fry’s two free throws with 11.6 seconds left pushed the Tigers to the 66-63 victory against the Checotah Wildcats.

Checotah led by as much as eight points (58-50) in the fourth quarter after two free throws by DeShawn Jackson with 4:49 left in the game. The Wildcats then led 62-55 with 1:32 remaining.

Leach went to work, scoring nine of his points in final 92 seconds. His layup gave the Tigers their first lead of the second half.

“Dustin’s really hard to defend one-on-one and he makes good decisions with the ball,” Oktaha coach Jim Glover said. “He hit some big shots. When he dumped the ball down to Fry and Devon put it in the hole, that was huge for us.”

Leach finished with a game-high 30 points.

“Our big boy hit those free throws and that’s what really won the game for us,” Leach said. “It was a group effort. It just wasn’t one person.”

Ranked No. 4 in the Class 2A poll, the Tigers improved to 16-2.

Blake Pittman added 11 points and Caleb Shoemake grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.

It was a heart-breaking loss for the Wildcats (10-7), who led 43-32 at halftime.

“They are ranked where they are for a reason,” Checotah coach Jason Dowdy said. “They did a good job in the second half.

“I’m proud of my guys. We won three games all last season and now we’ve had the opportunity to play in two tournament championships this season.”

Braylon Warrior led the Wildcats with 21 points. Jackson had 15 along with seven rebounds and Deshay Bear added 10.

In other games, Summit Christian beat Haskell 67-51 for the consolation championship as Michael Love scored 18 and Lane Young added 11.

Porter lost 63-53 to Glenpool for third place despite Jacob Richardson’s 27 points. Marquis Fowler led Glenpool with 26.



Girls:

Haskell Lady Haymakers gave the Oktaha Lady Tigers quite a scare in the championship game.

Oktaha scored six points in the final 63 seconds of the game and took advantage of Haskell turnovers to pull out the 48-45 victory.

Coach Chester Pittman said his team had been in a battle.

“I thought Haskell played extremely well,” he said. “I thought we played badly. I thought they played well enough to win.”

Haskell led 45-44 with 1:03 left in the game, but Lanessa Grayson hit a layup and three free throws and Shea Lynch sank another foul shot to help the Lady Tigers come back. In the meantime, the Haymakers were whistled for a couple turnovers with 57.3 and 25.2 seconds left that coach Rick Kirkhart questioned.

“To get the thunder taken away from you like that, for those two calls, I don’t know where they (the referees) were at,” Kirkhart said.

“I hate it for my girls because they played so hard to get to this point. I’ve never blamed an official, but tonight they were a factor. Coach Pittman knows that.”

Pittman’s Lady Tigers, ranked No. 4 in the Okrankings.com poll, improved to 16-1 for the season, escaped with a win.

“We put a little pressure at the end of the game and we were lucky to pull it out,” he said.

Grayson finished with a game-high 21 points.

Nikki Bolding led the Lady Haymakers (9-8) with 16 points and Denora Wheeland added 11 as they led 28-22 at halftime and 38-35 after three quarters.

In the other games, Checotah extended its winning streak to two games and won the consolation championship by beating Summit Christian 55-44 as Grace Terry and Katie Smith led the Lady Wildcats (3-13) with 15 and 12 points, respectively.

In other games, Porter lost 41-16 to Mounds in the seventh-place game and Glenpool turned back Bristow 53-44 for third place.