Hulbert came up short in a battle of Class 2A top 20 teams Tuesday, suffering a 64-63 overtime loss to Oktaha in Hulbert.
Adam Johnson hit on a scoop shot with under two seconds remaining in overtime and finished with 20 points to carry the 17th-ranked Tigers.
The No. 13 Riders, who dropped their first game of the season, falling to 4-1 under head coach Jordan Hill, never led until a free throw by Ethan Chuculate that put them up 57-56 to start overtime.
Hulbert, led by Gabe Lewis’ game-high 22 points, got to overtime when Nolan Edmundson converted 1 of 2 from the free throw line with 0.1 seconds left in regulation.
Oktaha, now 6-3 on the season, opened the contest with a 10-0 run and routinely knocked down shots. The Tigers led 20-9 after the opening quarter.
“They came out hot and couldn’t miss a shot,” Hill said. “They were really hot the entire game. They had guys hitting 3s and jump shots. I don’t know what their percentage was on mid-range jump shots but I’ve never seen anybody shoot the ball that well. We were playing great defense, contesting shots. At the start, we weren’t and they got up 10-0 on us, but we fought back.”
Lewis got the Riders going on the offensive end in the second quarter. The senior canned three of his four 3-pointers and got Hulbert to within 31-24 at halftime. Lewis added nine more points in the third quarter and the Riders trailed 45-39 entering the fourth.
“Last year on the second week of January they beat us by 40 points and it was the only time we played them, so this was the first time we’ve seen them since they beat us by 40,” Hill said. “They have their exact same team back and we competed with them. It’s hard to go away from a game you lose and be excited, but my coaching staff and I, after this game, we were like...we have grown so much mentally.
“There were a lot of high intensity situations during the game that last year or the year before we would’ve folded immediately. It didn’t bother us and we got going after their fast start. I’m very proud of our effort.”
Edmundson followed Lewis with 14 points, while Aiden Sanchez added nine. Chuculate and Aiden Carey finished with eight points apiece.
Oktaha had two other players in double figures with Ethan Frazier adding 19 points, and Jakob Yandell contributing with 13. Johnson scored all eight of Oktaha’s points in overtime.
The Riders will play home games on consecutive days Thursday and Friday. They host Porter on Thursday and follow against Central Sallisaw on Friday. Hulbert defeated Porter, 71-33, to open the season at the Porum Invitational.
The Lady Riders suffered a 73-30 loss after winning their first two games of the season on back-to-back days at the Regent Prep Tournament. They defeated Regent Prep, 35-29, last Friday and beat Prue, 37-30, on Saturday.
Hulbert is 2-6 under first-year head coach Joseph McClure and will host Porter at 6 p.m. Thursday.