Tahlequah Daily Press

TDP Sports Blog

January 11, 2013

Hulbert teams to play for Shrine bronze

MUSKOGEE — Blake Pittman did in the fourth quarter what Hulbert couldn't do for 32 minutes: make free throws.

Pittman made 10 of 12 foul shots in the final eight minutes, while Hulbert went 9 of 25 for game in a 66-58 victory for Class 2A No. 2 Oktaha at the Muskogee Civic Center on Friday night.

"We've got to make free throws," Hulbert coach Darron McCord said. "If we do that, it's a different game."

With the loss, the Riders (7-4) will take on Haskell at 10:30 a.m. Saturday for third place in the Bedouin Shrine Classic at the Muskogee Civic Center. Oktaha will take on Spiro for the small school boys title on Saturday night.

Oktaha's Dustin Leach led all scorers with 23 points on 8 of 16 shooting. And he did most of his damage on the pivotal third quarter.

Trailing 26-25 after Chris Vance's 3-pointer for Hulbert, Oktaha rattled 16 of the next 19 points to claim a 41-29 advantage. Oktaha's catalyst, Leach, notched 12 points on 4 of 7 shooting from the field.

All that came after Hulbert's Mason Fielden buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut Oktaha's lead to 23-21 at halftime.

Fielden finished with 10 points for the Riders, while Vance led the way with 15. Craig Potts, despite going 1 of 8 from the foul line, recorded 13 points for Hulbert.

An early killer for Hulbert was turnovers. Early in the second quarter, the Riders had more turnovers (11) than points (10).

In the end, neither team came out rosy in the turnover department. Hulbert handed the ball over 19 times, while Oktaha did it on 17 occasions.

For Oktaha (12-0), Pittman registered 12 points, Christian McIntosh had 14 and Caleb Shoemake finished with 10. And it was McIntosh with a key basket with a minute left in the game, capping a sequence in which both teams turned the ball over. After Pittman made an errant pass, Hulbert's Ricco Wynn did so on the other end, resulting in a layup for McIntosh.

After beating Porter in the opening round and losing to Oktaha, McCord now has a better idea of where his team stands in the 2A landscape.

"This is a win-win situation for us," McCord said. "If we beat them, it's a huge, huge game. But it's also the type of team in the state that we're going to have to play to get to that level. We're making progress, I can see it. We just have to do the little things and hit free throws."

Oktaha 43, Hulbert (girls) 37

Reserve Kelsey Cantwell scored all eight of her points in the fourth quarter to help Class 2A No. 4 Oktaha hold off Hulbert, 43-37, at the Muskogee Civic Center on Friday night.

Cantwell, in fact, was the only Oktaha player to score in the final period, but the Lady Tigers held a large enough lead after three quarters (35-26) to withstand a late charge from Hulbert.

Hulbert falls to the third-place game in the small school bracket and will take on Sequoyah at 9 a.m. on Saturday at the Civic Center. Oktaha, remaining unbeaten at 11-0, will take on Spiro for the small school title.

Jaylie Roper led Oktaha with 10 points, while Lanessa Grayson and McKayla Baldridge had eight apiece for the Lady Tigers.

Hulbert's undoing came when Oktaha closed the first half on an 11-0 run to claim a 24-15 lead at intermission. To make matters worse for Hulbert, the Lady Riders didn't score their first basket of the second half until Tiffany Thompson's 3-pointer with 5:12 left. That capped off more than an eight-minute scoreless stretch for Hulbert.

The Lady Riders eventually pulled to within four inside the final minute but could never get any closer.

With Oktaha holding the late lead, the Lady Tigers went into a stall offense, holding the ball and draining the life out of the venue. For instance, Oktaha began one possession at 2:12 and didn't attempt to do much until 53 seconds had erased off the clock.

Ott couldn't fault his counterpart, Oktaha coach Chester Pittman, though.

"I'm going to milk it one of these days, too," Hulbert coach Rick Ott said. "I would be dead set against (having a shot clock). I have been over the years and still am."

Thompson led Hulbert with 14 points. The next closest was Lindsey Krueger with eight.

"(Oktaha) did a great job defensing a biggin," Ott said of Oktaha's defense on Krueger. "In those situations, we have to have a couple of others step up, and I think they will."

Box scores

Boys: Oktaha 66, Hulbert 58

Oktaha     15     8     20     23     -     66

Hulbert     10     11     14     23     -     58

Oktaha (12-0): Dustin Leach 23, Christian McIntosh 14, Blake Pittman 12, Caleb Shoemake 10, Clopton 3, Power 2, Fry 2.

Hulbert (7-4): Chris Vance 15, Craig Potts 13, Mason Fielden 10, Ricco Wynn 9, Parker Taylor 7, Brandon Thompson 4.

Girls: Oktaha 43, Hulbert 37

Oktaha     12     12     11     8     -     43

Hulbert      9       6     11     11     -     37

Oktaha (11-0): Jaylie Roper 10, Grayson 8, M. Baldridge 8, Cantwell 8, Gamble 5, Lynch 3, Hunt 1.

Hulbert: Tiffany Thompson 14, Lindsay Krueger 8, Allison Arnall 7, Brooke Bailey 5, Megan Cox 3.

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TDP Sports Blog

Ben Johnson has been the sports editor at the Tahlequah Daily Press since 2009. He's a Broken Arrow native and a graduate of Oklahoma State University. He's also an avid fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Chiefs.

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