By RONN ROWLAND
The Hulbert Riders slowly and methodically stretched a 14-6 advantage after one quarter to a 10-point halftime advantage at halftime, and a 16-point lead after three periods, in beating Summit Christian 74-54 in the Small School bys game of the 34th Bedouin Shrine Classic basketball tournament at Ron Milam Gymnasium on Tuesday.
With the win, the Riders (5-2) will play defending Small School boys champion Spiro at 9 p.m. Friday at the Civic Center while Summit Christian gets the Hilldale JV at 9 p.m. Thursday at MHS.
“What I was really happy about is we came together as a team,” Hulbert coach Darron McCord said. “I saw a pick up in assists, in passing and the fundamentals of the game. We’ve been trying to focus more as a team and trying to be a threat without the ball.”
Jordan Gibson led the Riders with 23 points and was one of four Hulbert players in double figures, followed by Dakota Hocks with 14, Mason Fielder with 12 and Rico Wynn with 10. Gibson was aware early on that the Riders force the issue.
“I try to work my hardest and get my teammates the ball every game,” he said.
After the opening quarter, Gibson and Hocks started playing an inside-outside game and it worked as Gibson finished the first half with eight points and Hocks with 10. The tandem continued the assault in the second half when Summit could not decide which player to guard the hardest.
“I just kept my head up down the court and Dakota was there,” Gibson said.
McCord is anticipating how his team will play against Spiro.
“That’s going to be an awesome opportunity for us,” McCord said. “They’re going to be there at the end of the year. We need to use that game as a bench mark for us to see where we’re at.”
Spiro (girls) 54, Hulbert 29
The Lady Bulldogs of Spiro outscored Hulbert 31-5 in the second half of their contest in the opening round of the tournament and rolled to an easy 55-29 victory to move on in the winner’s bracket. With the Lady Riders playing close at 24-22 at half time, Spiro scored a quick five points to open the third quarter and never looked back.
The Lady Bulldogs moved to 5-2 on the season and were led by sophomore Carleigha Thompson with 17 points while Sarika Willis added 15 and Philicea Mack had 12.
The Lady Riders (4-3) had one player in double figures as Tiffany Thompson scored 10 points.
Spiro moves on to test Oktaha Friday night at 7:30 at the Civic Center while Hulbert will play Porter at the same time at Muskogee High.