After watching the Lady Panthers destroy the visiting McLoud girls team by a 21 point deficit, the Okemah Panthers took to the court and achieved a similar result, upsetting the Redskins by 20 with a final score of 68-48.
Similarly to the girls, the Panthers had an offensive slow start, scoring only 14 points in the first quarter, leaving them trailing by one at its conclusion.
That first quarter would be the only period they would see from behind as the team scored 16 more points in the second to give them 30 at the half.
With the Panther defense allowing 15 points in the first, it would make for the highest scoring quarter for the McLoud Redskins.
They held the visitors to only five team points in the second quarter, which meant the 16 points they scored that quarter gave them a double-digit advantage — 30-20 — to start the third.
By the time the buzzer sounded in the third, the score was 57-34.
Things looked bleak for McLoud as they started the final quarter, and completely hopeless about halfway through it.
The Panthers continued an aggressive attack on offense behind a solid defensive performance. With a few minutes left in the game, Okemah’s starters sat down and reserves hit the court.
The game was a shootout for the Panthers. The team sank 10 shots from long range to make up almost half its total points, scoring the rest from within the arc after only four free throw attempts the whole game.
The offense was steady the first half, but almost explosive in the second. The third quarter, especially, as shot after shot fell. McLoud called a few timeouts to slow the Panther momentum down to no avail.
The deep shots made were spread over three players — Kaiden Bear made two, Cade Dean put in five and Brayden Lee hit three.
Dean combined those 15 points from behind the arc with two other field goals, giving him 19 points to lead the Panthers in scoring.
Of the nine Panthers that tacked points to the board, Bear was the only other to see double-digits. He scored 12.
Other scorers were Lee with nine, CD Harjo with eight, Wacey Williams and Matt Fulbright both had six, Kurtis Wilson scored four and both Aaron Little and Elijah Harjo had two.
“We played well tonight,” Panther Head Coach Devin Terry said after the game. “They were focused and worked hard. That’s what we need to continue to do.”
Terry went on to say his team must “harness that focus.”
“If we can do that … harness that focus … we will be pretty lethal this year,” he said.
The Panthers are the number three seed in the Okemah Tournament, which starts Thursday and goes through Saturday.
Terry said the number one seed, Broken Bow, will be tough to beat but that it could be done.
“Like I said, we have to harness our focus, work hard and play to win,” the coach said. “We will face some good teams, but if we do that and stay consistent, I think we have a good shot in this tournament.”
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