EARLSBORO – There was little outside presence, but Earlsboro did enough work in the paint to cruise away with a 79-55 victory over Sasakwa Monday night in the semifinals of the Jim Walling Classic.
The Wildcats wasted little time getting down to their basket on turnovers, resulting in several missed layups in lieu of taking time off the clock and looking for potentially better shots.
“I thought we were just a little uninspired tonight, the way we played,” coach Russell Parsons said.
It wasn't until the fourth quarter, when Elijah Stargell had a hot streak from 3-point range with a distance contribution from Austin Cox mixed in for good measure, that the Wildcats really got their perimeter game going.
“He ended up saving our 3-point percentage right there at the end,” Parsons said.
Trailing 9-8 with 2:24 to go in the first, Stargell drained his first three of the game to give the Wildcats the last lead they would need and kick off an 8-2 run to close out the quarter.
Earlsboro held the Vikings to nine points in the second to lead 39-19 at the half but struggled in the return as they gave up a 19-14 run in the third for a 53-38 difference. Sasakwa hit four 3-pointers in the quarter and made it a 12 point game before Earlsboro fought back to close out the game.
Stargell finished the game with 21 points and five treys, with 12 in the fourth on 3-pointers. Kobe Smith had 16 points, Kaveon Sharp 11 and Trenton Nadeau six on two 3-pointers.
Sasakwa was led by Chris Harjo with 12 points while Houston Tiger had 11 and Caleb Garcia finished with 10.
For a team with one player on the bench, Parsons said Sasakwa hung with his boys as best they could.
“I thought they handled the pressure a lot better this time than they did the last time around,” he said.
The Wildcats will face Tupelo today at Tupelo before squaring off against Varnum in the tournament final Wednesday at 6:30.