Panthers struggle at Homecoming, lose 53-59
By Justin Scrimshire
ONL Sports Reporter
For the first time this season, the Panthers dropped back-to-back losses. Okemah played Seminole just days ago during the 66 Conference Tournament and walked away with a narrow 52-49 victory.
Lacking Wacey Williams who continued to sit out with an injury, the Panthers attempted to repeat their efforts against the Class 4-A Chieftains at home but that was not to be.
In an exceptionally rare statistic for the season, the Panthers never saw the lead in the first quarter. Early on, the Chieftains held a 12-2 lead as Okemah failed to capitalize on their opportunities. Okemah finished out stronger, only giving up 5 more points while scoring 10 of their own, but the Panthers trailed 12-17 at the end of the first quarter. Kurtis Wilson and Cade Dean had 6 points each for the Panthers.
Okemah continued to fight back and saw the lead for the first time in the game with four minutes left in the second quarter, on a three-pointer from Cade Dean. The rest of the quarter continued to be a one and two-point affair as each team fought for the lead. At halftime, Okemah sat on top, 26-24, after two clutch free throws from Kurtis Wilson ended the half.
During the second quarter Kurtis Wilson scored 4 points, Cade Dean scored 5 points, Kaiden Bear scored 4 points, and Ethan Hodgens scored 1 point on a free throw.
The game continued to be a one-possession dogfight until Seminole pulled away in the final minute of the third quarter, taking a 44-39 lead into the final quarter. The Panthers added 13 points on the efforts of Kurtis Wilson with 6 points, Cade Dean with 3 points, Aaron Little with 3 points and Ethan Hodgens with 1 point.
In the fourth quarter, the Panthers began to feel the pressure as the minutes ticked away. Turnovers and missed shots thwarted any attempt at a comeback and the Chieftains left town with the victory, 59-53. Kurtis Wilson finished the quarter with 6 points, Kaiden Bear with 5 points and Cade Dean with 3 points.
The Panthers traveled to Meeker to take on the 4-12 Bulldogs on Tuesday, February 4th. Those results will be published in the next edition of ONL.