Panthers claim 66 Conference Championship
By Justin Scrimshire
ONL Sports Reporter
With disappointing outcomes in their previous two tournaments this season, the Panthers looked to put all the pieces together and make a strong showing in the 66 Conference Tournament.
Okemah kicked off their tournament schedule on Monday, January 20th, against Stroud. The Panthers led early and didn’t look back, taking a 15-10 lead into the second quarter. That trend continued into the second quarter with Okemah leading 32-25 at halftime.
By the end of the third quarter, the game was well in hand with the Panthers leading 58-33 and Okemah cruised through their first round with a 62-48 victory. A rematch against McLoud, whom the Panthers had defeated earlier in the season, 66-52, awaited Okemah in the second round.
As many opponents of the Panthers have done throughout the season, McLoud wound up chasing a runaway train as Okemah leapt out to a fast lead. McLoud trailed 21-11 as the first quarter came to an end and it didn’t get any better throughout the first half as Okemah took a 31-17 lead into halftime.
The Panthers continued their dominance in the second half, building a 20-point lead over McLoud, with the scoreboard showing 43-23 at the end of the third quarter. Okemah secured their berth in the championship round with a 55-37 victory over McLoud.
For the final game of the tournament, Okemah faced off against Seminole and this contest didn’t go as smoothly as the previous two, as Okemah found themselves trailing in a close game at the end of the first quarter 14-15. Seminole extended their one-point lead into a three-point lead by halftime, leading 31-28 over the Panthers.
Okemah continued to struggle as the third quarter got underway and a five-point deficit hung over the Panthers, 41-36 as the game entered the final quarter. The Panthers were able to rally however, scoring sixteen-points and holding Seminole to just eight points in the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter comeback gave the Panthers a 52-49 victory and their second 66 Conference Tournament Championship under Coach Devin Terry.
The Panthers traveled to Konawa on Tuesday, January 28th and will come back home to host a rematch against Seminole during Homecoming on Friday, January 31st.