Okemah, McLoud reach 66 Conference Tournament finals
SEMINOLE - Bracket buster. The fourth-seeded Okemah Panthers spoiled the Seminole Chieftains' championship game bid with a convincing 80-48 rout in Thursday night’s 66 Conference Tournament semifinals.
Okemah will face the McLoud Redskins, a 59-56 winner over the Meeker Bulldogs Saturday for the tournament crown.
The Panthers wasted little time in getting the offense going against the Chieftains, outscoring the tourney host 23-11 after the first quarter and the two-headed monster of Kurtis Wilson and Ethan Hodgens did the majority of the damage. Wilson tallied eight points and Hodgens hit two treys in the opening frame.
Okemah increased the advantage to 45-26 by the end of the half. Wilson finished with 17 first-half points and Hodgens scored a baker’s dozen. Easton Wurtz led Seminole with eight points in the half.
In the second half, Okemah kept its’ foot on the gas, bumping the lead up to 66-40 by the end of the third then cruised into the championship with 14 more points in the fourth.
Hodgens finished with a game-high 25 points and Wilson was just a bucket behind with 23. Bryce Marshall and Wurtz led Seminole with 10 points each.
Seminole will face Meeker Saturday in the third place game.
McLoud 59, Meeker 56 (Boys' Semifinals)
New life. The Meeker Bulldogs, who lost to Okemah in the opening round, found themselves back in the winner’s bracket after COVID-19 ended Prague’s tournament run.
The McLoud Redskins had another plan, holding on for the four-point semifinal win.
The game was back and forth for the entire 32 minutes of play. There were five ties and 16 lead changes during the intense battle. McLoud led 11-10 after the first quarter and once again led by a single digit at the half, 25-24.
Tristen Crook and Tryce Lewis paced McLoud with seven points each while Kade Patterson led Meeker with 11 first half points.
The third quarter was won by the Bulldogs as they took a 40-37 lead heading into the fourth. Braxton Bussell hit three treys to spark the third quarter Meeker rally. Bussell finished with 13 points.
McLoud chipped away at Meeker in the final quarter and took the lead for good on a Collin Gibson bucket at the 5:06 mark, making the count 48-47 in favor of the Redskins. McLoud continued to increase the advantage to its’ highest point of 55-47 when Luke Jordan drained a 3-pointer with 2:24 left, sending the Redskins into the championship.
Meeker’s Patterson led all scorers with 21 points. Evan Tirey joined Patterson and Bussell in double figures with 10 points. Meeker will face Seminole in Saturday's third-place game.
McLoud’s center, Lewis, finished with a team-high 16 points and Crook netted 15.
Okemah 40, Chandler 20 (Girls' Consolation)
For a half, the Lady Lions and Lady Panthers scratched and clawed their way to a 14-14 tie. Okemah led 8-6 after the first quarter.
The game turned in the third quarter. Okemah’s Abby Harrelson and Taylor Harberman heated up and scored seven points apiece and propelled the Lady Panthers to a 30-20 lead after three quarters of play.
The fourth quarter was disastrous for the Lady Lions. They were held scoreless by Okemah’s defense and the Lady Panthers found their way to the 20-point victory.
Harrelson led all scorers with 19 points and Harberman finished with 11. Chandler’s Senior, Piper Hixson led the Lady Lions with nine points, all coming from beyond the 3-point arc.
McLoud 41, Meeker 28 (Girls' Consolation)
The Lady Redskins punched their ticket for the consolation championship game with the win over the Lady Bulldogs. The inside presence of Cheyanne Banks was too much for Meeker to handle. The senior post finished with a game-high 16 points.
The Lady Bulldogs had difficulty getting into any offensive rhythm due to the full-court pressure applied by McLoud. The Lady Redskins took advantage and streaked to a 19-5 lead after the first quarter and went into the half with a 29-14 cushion.
The third quarter was more of the same, as McLoud grew the lead to 37-17, heading into the final eight minutes of play. The Lady Redskins were not challenged in the fourth, and cruised into the consolation championship game with the 13-point win.
McLoud’s Lexi Boyer added nine points in the win.
Meeker’s Kaitlin Culp led Meeker with 13 points and Kiley Kirkwood hit for six.