By LENZY KREHBIEL-BURTON
KIEFER — With a 59-51 victory, the Hulbert Riders live to play another game, but not before getting a scare Thursday afternoon.
Despite trailing most of the game, the Quapaw Wildcats (5-20) chipped away at Hulbert’s lead in the fourth quarter, getting to within a single possession with three minutes to play.
However, the Riders (18-9) held the Ottawa County team to one-for-six from the field in the closing minutes and converted on their own scoring opportunities to secure the win.
“They tried to guard us man-to-man in the first quarter and we put up 20 or so on them,” Coach Rick Ott said. “When they switched to zone and we didn’t shoot too well. We about shot ourselves out of it and let them get back in the game, but hey, we live to play another day.”
Sophomore Mason Fielden paced Hulbert with 14 rebounds and 22 points, including six free throws in the final 2:26 to seal the victory.
Shooting five-of-seven from three-point range, Quapaw was led by sophomore guard Alec Hayward with 22 points.
With the win, Hulbert advances in the regional consolation bracket of the Class 2A playoffs. On Friday at 8 p.m. in the Kiefer Event Center, the Riders will face the loser of the No. 6 Pawnee (18-4) vs. (15-8) Tonkawa winners bracket game played late Thursday at Caney Valley High School.
In the early game, despite a fourth quarter push led by senior guard Brooke Bailey, the Lady Riders ended their season with a 55-47 loss to Oklahoma Union.
With Oklahoma Union hitting multiple three-pointers early on, Hulbert never led and trailed by as much as 15 entering the final quarter. However, Bailey poured in eight of her 11 points in an effort to keep the Lady Riders’ playoff run going before fouling out with 3:46 left.
The Lady Riders end the 2013-2014 season with a 15-11 record. Senior Tiffany Thompson led all Hulbert scorers with 16 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore Bailey Drywater, one of two starters slated to return next year, chipped in 11 boards as Hulbert outrebounded Oklahoma Union 33-27.
“I think the world of this group of kids,” an emotional Ott said after the Lady Riders’ loss. “I’ve been doing this a long time and they’re among my favorites. They’re good kids and they don’t have any quit in them.”
Oklahoma Union had three players score in double-digits, led by senior forward Jorja Fisher, who had 16 points and 13 rebounds. The Lady Cougars (15-10) will play Friday evening at the Kiefer Event Center against either No. 7 Tonkawa (18-5) or Pawnee (11-11).
GIRLS: Oklahoma Union 55, Hulbert 47 (girls)
Oklahoma Union 17 12 15 7 55
Hulbert 12 6 11 18 47
Oklahoma Union: Fisher 16, Pursely 15, Benson 13, Bottoms 5, Cowel 2
Hulbert: T. Thompson 16, Bailey 11, Buford 9, Drywater 8, Barnoski 4, Potts 1
BOYS: Hulbert 59, Quapaw 51 (boys)
Quapaw 12 13 12 14 51
Hulbert 21 9 16 13 59
Quapaw: Hayward 22, Kibel 17, Kelly 5, Turner 5, Attocknie 2, Dawson 2, Tune 2
Hulbert: Fielden 22, Taylor 12, Schlun 8, Wynn 7, Autry 3, Gibson 2