Lawton High School dominated the third quarter to survive in a tough battle against MacArthur, 65-51, in a physical semifinal contest in the Waste Solutions Great Plains Invitational Friday.
The Wolverines managed a 20-10 scoring edge in the third quarter to survive and earn the right to face Tulsa Memorial Saturday at 8 p.m. in the championship game of the boys tournament at the Comanche County Fairgrounds. Memorial had to work hard for its semifinal victory over Northwest Classen, turning back the Knights by a 53-46 score in another tough defensive battle.
The third-place game will begin at 6 p.m. and pit MacArthur against Northwest Classen. The first game today begins at noon with U.S. Grant facing Putnam City for seventh. PC took LHS to three overtimes Thursday but with two of its top players in street clothes on the bench, the Pirates were unable to hold back the Eagles Friday. Ike will face Newcastle at 2 p.m. for fifth place after the upset of the Pirates.
Wolverines’ depth fuels win
This one was end-to-end action as neither team was willing to slow the pace down and that pace led to a large volume of fouls as the two combined to draw 47 fouls, 26 by the Wolverines and 21 against the Highlanders.
“That is the tempo we want to play and we want to make opponents play at the pace we set,” LHS coach Chevis Smith said. “I thought we did a good job forcing them to play at our speed and we were able to win the rebound battle and that was important tonight. We are a very young team and sometimes we overthink things.
“I believe our defensive intensity was the difference. We had an edge in depth and that worked to our advantage. We are gaining more confidence as these younger kids get more minutes.”
LHS owned a 36-28 margin at halftime but Mac hit a couple of quick buckets to cut the deficit to seven. However, the Wolverines quickly pushed the lead to 16 at 50-34 thanks to a perfect back-door cut from Anthony Patrick with 2:09 left in the third. Patrick then drilled a 3-point bucket with 53 seconds left in the third quarter to arrange a 55-38 score that pretty much decided the outcome.
Tavarius Deans, who scored 34 in the first-round triple-overtime win again PC, paced LHS again with 19 while Patrick added 10 and Omoriante Smith scored 13. Mac got scoring leadership from Tkyhael Taylor and Keylon Brown with 12 each.
LHS will have little time to celebrate with the matchup against the Memorial Chargers set for 8 p.m. tonight.
“I’m a big fan of what Coach Bobby Allison does with that program,” the LHS coach said. “They are going to throw a variety of presses against us and we’re going to have to handle that. We need to play at our tempo because the team that controls the tempo is probably going to win the game. I think we have the guards who can handle their pressure. It should be a great matchup for the championship.”
Eagles edge PC for first win
First-year Eisenhower head coach Brandon Kephart had some unfinished business after his Eagles rallied from a 21-4 deficit after the first quarter to upset Putnam City, 35-31, in a consolation bracket game Friday afternoon.
When the Eagles found themselves well behind, Kephart changed defenses, throwing a 1-3-1 zone against the Pirates, something he learned while playing for former MacArthur head coach Kevin Harrington.
“I’ve got to call Coach Harrington tonight and thank him for showing me how to run the 1-3-1 when I was playing for him,” Kephart said after his Eagles got their first win of the season after an 0-4 start. “We have been getting those slow starts which is something we have to work on, but we just kept battling and found a way to win.”
The Eagles were able to turn things around with good defense and improved shot selection.
“I’ve been preaching to them that we have to avoid getting behind and then trying to get back in the game by shooting threes,” he said. “We shot four threes in the first half but the guys started working the ball inside and avoided those threes in the second half. We also cut down on our turnovers which had been a problem in the first four games. Today we had 10 in the first half but just four in the second half.
“These guys are getting more and more confidence with each game. Even though we lost those games, the kids kept working hard in practice and that showed today.”
Ike patiently battled back from the early deficit and took the lead for the first time when Latrell Bailey hit a follow shot with 3:27 remaining for a 32-31 lead. Bailey added another layup after a PC turnover for a 34-31 lead with 2:50 remaining.
From there Ike slowed their offense down and worked some clock and in the end the Eagles’ defense did the trick, holding PC scoreless in the fourth quarter to seal the win.