, Muskogee, OK

February 3, 2013

Inside game helps Oktaha past Vian

By Kenton Brooks
Phoenix Sports Writer

— OKTAHA — Caleb Shoemake can present problems to opposing teams, if Saturday’s game is an indication.

The 6-foot-3 Oktaha senior made 6-of-11 shots from the field in recording a double-double (17 points,11 rebounds) to power the  Tigers to a 68-34 victory against the Vian Wolverines at Oktaha’s gym.

When he wasn’t muscling his way to the basket for layups, Shoemake showed he can shoot from the outside with a 3-pointer with 2:27 left in the third quarter.

“He stepped up for them tonight,” Vian coach Anthony Porter. “He’s hard to match up against.”

It was the first double-double this season by Shoemake.

“I just heard about it in the locker room,” he said. “The guys really gave me the ball and I just hustled on the defensive boards.”

Glover was Shoemake’s biggest fan after the game as his Tigers, ranked No. 4 in the Class 2A poll this week, improved to 19-2.

“He’s the backbone of our team and does all those things that nobody sees,” the Oktaha coach said. “I’m glad to see him get the double-double. He’s been close several times.”

Shoemake scored eight of his points in the third quarter as the Tigers blew the game open after leading 31-17 at halftime. Outscoring the Wolverines (6-10) 23-7 in the period, Oktaha led 54-26 going into the final quarter.

“Coach told us to have a better third quarter than the second and we did,” Shoemake said. “We ran our offense. It was a nice game for us.”

Dustin Leach, who sank seven of nine  shots in the game, led the  Tigers with 18 points and Christian McIntosh added 10.

The win helped Oktaha avenge a 59-55 loss to the Wolverines on Jan. 15, its second straight loss coming off the Bedouin Shrine Classic finals setback against Spiro. Since then, the Tigers have won seven straight.

Eric Casey led Vian with 12 points.

Oktaha travels to Henryetta on Tuesday, while Vian is at home against Westville on Monday.

Girls: Oktaha 57, Vian 51

Even though the 2A No. 6 Lady Tigers won their 20th game for the 23rd straight season in coach Chester Pittman’s career, he wasn’t celebrating.

His thoughts were about how his team had led 22-8 after the first quarter and 36-21 at halftime before Vian rallied to get within four points (52-48) with 46.9 seconds left in the game.

“We thought we had won the game at halftime,” Pittman said. “We had a really good first half and then we kind of went to sleep to let them back in the game. It wasn’t a good (second) half for us.”

Shelby Gamble, a 5-5 senior, sank four free throws in the next 18.22 seconds to help the Lady Tigers (20-1) maintain their advantage. She finished with 11 points.

“I was just focused on making free throws,” she said. “Coach told us to make them because that’s what’s important right now. At the end, we were trying to hold the lead.”

Jaylie Roper had 15 points to lead Oktaha and Lanessa Grayson added 13. Shanessia Walter had 17 and Jennifer Hunter added 11 for the Lady Wolverines (10-6).

Vian coach John Mays wasn’t hanging his head in disappointment.

“We made some adjustments at halftime and pressed them a little bit. Our girls never quit,” he said. “We were able to cut it to four and I thought we would get another basket there, but we didn’t. Their girls do a good job for them and coach Pittman does such a good job with them.”