MUSTANG – After trailing by double figures in the third quarter, the Dale Pirates forced overtime, but came up short, ending their season when they lost to the Latta Pirates 58-47 Thursday night at the Class 2A state tournament.
"We've been behind in a lot of games, and you never see them quit." Dale coach Jeff Edmonson said. "We had no doubt we would get back in it.Latta just kept shooting the ball well. When they shoot it well, they're tough to beat." Dale trailed 13-9 at the end of the first quarter but a 9-3 run to start the second gave them their first lead since the opening minutes of the game, 18-16.
In the second quarter, Dale played a better brand of basketball, but Latta hung around in part to a trey from Trent Smith. Brett Cunningham scored five points in the quarter. Reid Davenport chipped in four.
Latta regained momentum in the third quarter, connecting on four 3-pointers, two coming from Dustin West. Kele Parnacher and Smith each hit one. At the end of three quarters, Latta took a 3427 lead.
The Panthers continued the hot shooting in the fourth quarter, with Smith knocking down another triple to extend the lead to 37-27. Dale's Aaron Hester and Cunningham
connected on back-to-back threes, bringing the score to 41-35. The next trip up the floor, Gabe Gouge hit a 2-pointer but could not connect on the free throw. Continuing the momentum swing, Dale’s Cole Seaborn knocked down a trey, bringing the Pirates within 41-40. Latta’s Dustin West gave his team the lead once more.
With 1:15 left on the clock, Hester buried a longrange triple, tying the game at 43 and forcing overtime. In the extra frame, Latta struck first on an Isaiah Lott layup, giving the Panthers a 45-43 lead. The next trip up the floor, Cunningham missed two free throw attempts. West was able to extend the Panther lead when he connected on one of two free throws and a layup.
“They took the lead and got the ball and played keep-away. They got a little bit of a cushion at the right time and they hit their free throws,” Edmonson said.
Cunningham led Dale with 12 points. Davenport chipped in 11 points.
“I’m so proud of the team and the way they played all season,” Edmonson said. “I couldn’t be more proud of them.”