Panthers win district championship
By Justin Scrmishire
ONL Sports Reporter
The Panthers earned a first round bye during the District 6 playoffs held in Porter and on Saturday, February 22nd they squared off against Hulbert in the championship game.
The Panthers scored first and more often, never trailing at any point throughout the game. Hulbert managed to keep the game close early in the first quarter before Okemah went on a 13-3 run during the final four minutes of the first quarter, giving the Panthers a 24-12 lead.
Cade Dean lit the boards up early with two three-pointers giving him 6 points in the first quarter while Kurtis Wilson seemingly scored at will with 15 points and Ethan Hodgens added 4 points as well.
The second quarter became a one-sided affair in favor of Hulbert as they held the Panthers to just 9 points and countered with 17 points of their own. The cushion that had been built during the first quarter still allowed Okemah to take a 33-29 lead into halftime.
Ethan Hodgens, Kaiden Bear, Cade Dean and Mikey Cruz had 2 points each during the second quarter with Wacey Williams adding 1 more point at the free throw line.
The Panthers opened their lead during the third quarter with an 8-0 run to begin the second half. Okemah dropped 23 points compared to Hulbert’s 12 points during the third and the Panthers took a 56-41 lead into the final quarter.
Cade Dean led the Panthers during the third quarter with 6 points while Wacey Williams, Kurtis Wilson and Kaiden Bear each had 5 points and Mikey Cruz also added 2 points.
With a 15-point lead in their pocket, the Panthers scored another 15 points during the fourth quarter while also managing the clock and holding Hulbert to just 5 points, sealing the district championship and a 71-46 victory.
During the final quarter Cade Dean scored 8 more points while Mikey Cruz had 3 points and Wacey Williams and Ethan Hodgens each had 2 points.
Okemah will host Regionals beginning on Thursday, February 27th through Saturday, February 29th. The Panthers will look to avenge their season finale loss against Wewoka as they face the Tigers again on Thursday night inside the Tom Condict Panther Dome. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.