MOORE — Moore could have picked an easier opponent to take on in the first round of its own tournament. But in Lawton High they took on a team that resembled their style of play and tenacity to fight to the end.
Despite that, it was the Lions who came away with a 62-58 victory over the Wolverines in Thursday’s first round of the John Noble Tournament at Moore High.
“I think I saw a lot more team work,” Moore coach Aaron Howell said. “We had some guys who don’t normally get a lot of minutes who had to take those minutes today. I think they stepped in well. We’ve been practicing for a long time and we know what we have to do. Accept your role and let’s get it done.”
With 3:37 left in the game, Lawton’s Darryel Patterson hit two free throws to bring the Wolverines within seven of Moore. But Jaylen Wilson came back down and drained a 3-pointer for the Lions. LHS threw the ball away on their next possession.
After another LHS rally, MHS only led 60-56 with 2:10 left.
Moore tried to run out the clock, but threw the ball away and the Wolverines took over with 53.9 seconds on the clock. After a mad scramble that saw the ball change possession three times, Lawton’s Darius Martin came up with the loose ball layup. Moore led 60-58.
Instead of running the clock out, Moore’s Diontre Cutliff went in for a layup and had it swatted out by Chris Deck. Lawton had the ball with a chance to tie, but Dakari Moss attempted a 3-pointer from the corner that was off the mark. The Lions came up with the rebound and drove the court for a bucket as the buzzer sounded.
“We held up good enough to take the win,” Howell said. “We will always take the win. But I think they know and understand we didn’t play well. We have some things they have to finish up on.”
Martin scored 21 points for Lawton, including 12 points in the fourth. However, he was not on the floor for the team’s final possession. Patterson also posted 21 points in the defeat.
Wilson had a game high 22 points for the Lions. Cutliff chipped in with 10.
“We had to slow it down, take our time and make the right passes,” Wilson said.
Southmoore boys 63, Tahlequah 30: The SaberCats put the game away when they outscored the Tigers 21-0 in the second quarter and took a 41-10 halftime lead.
In total, Southmoore held Tahlequah scoreless for a 14 minute span. It took Stone Faddis to knock down a driving layup with 1:28 left in the third for the Tigers.
Tahlequah played without its best player, Dalton Cunningham, who is no longer on the team after transferring to Fort Gibson at the start of the new year.
Justin Bean paced the SaberCats with 19 points. Preston Smith added 11 points, including knocking down three 3-pointers.
Faddis led the Tigers with 6 points.
Moore will face Southmoore at 8:30 p.m. in the semifinals of the JNT. The Cats won 74-69 in an earlier matchup. Howell knows his team will have to come to play.
“We have to play start to finish,” Howell said. “Southmoore is a very, very tough team. We have to come play. We have to stay on them. If you don’t, they will wear you out.”
Moore girls 66, Tahlequah 55: Led by Amanda Patterson and Tamera Shaver, the Lady Lions started the game raining 3-pointers from the corners. The Lions took a 32-17 advantage into halftime.
Led by Marisa Grinder, the Tigers were able to close the gap to six points late in the third quarter. They had the ball with a chance to get even closer, but the Lions came up with a stop and scored four straight to put the lead back into double digits.
In the fourth quarter, Will Carlie hit 1 of 2 from the free throw line to cut Moore’s lead down to 59-53 with 3:12 left in the game. Moore didn’t let the Tigers score again until there was only 22 seconds left in the game.
Patterson led the charge with 23 points. That included hitting four 3-pointers. Allison Rogers added 12 points.
Whitney Wright paced Tahlequah with 15 points. Grinder had 9 points.
The Lady Lions and Choctaw face off at 7 p.m. in the semifinals.
Ponca City girls 45, Southmoore 36: The SaberCats’ struggles without standout forward Serithia Hawkins continued against the Cats. They have now lost six straight since Hawkins went down with an elbow injury.
After falling behind by 15 points, Southmoore fought back and cut the lead to four midway through the fourth quarter. But they weren’t able to get it closer.
Alyssa Jones paced the SaberCats with 16 points. Kyeria Hannah added 12 points on four 3-pointers.
Madison Peresko had 12 points and Brianna Cherry posted 8.
Eisenhower girls 48, Muskogee 35:
The Eagles and Roughers kept it close early and were tied after the first period. But junior Crystal Polk began to exert her dominance on both of the floor for the Eagles. Muskogee had no answer and EHS pulled away.
The Eagles got solid games from guard Sierra Gillian and Nikki Smith. Both set the tone defensively.
Polk finished with a game-high 24 points. Sierra Gillian and Nikki Smith
The Roughers were paced by Aaliyah Wilson, who had 15.
The Eagles will play Ponca City at 4 p.m. in the semifinals.
Redemption Christian Academy (TX.) 53, Ponca City boys 41:
University of Oklahoma signee Khadeem Lattin scored 13 points to lead the Pride. But he was even more effective on the defensive end as he blocked or altered a multitude of shots.
RCA will face Flower Mound in the semis.
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