Monday, December 14, 2009

A good night to be a Lion...and Lady Lion

Saturday night was a special night for Howe’s players, coaches and fans.

The Howe contingent got to see both their teams take the first-place trophies in the EOSC Tournament.

Just getting into the finals was good and one win would have been great. But two wins was extra special, especially because of the opposition and the brilliant play by a player on each of the teams. Plus the endings just added to the celebration.

The Lady Lions downed Indianola, which had been ranked 11th coming into the game while Howe was seventh. Howe trailed early in the game by 10 points, fought back to take the lead only to see Indianola rally.

Howe trailed by three points with 1:44 left before going on an 8-0 run to take the lead and clinch the win in front of a packed crowd. The final score was 72-69. Two players from Howe, Chelsea Baggs and Randa Grant were named to the All-Tournament Team with Baggs winning the MVP award.

To win, Howe had to overcome a spectacular night from the Lady Warriors’ Whitney Barnes, who scored 36 points despite constant pressure.

If the first game was the main course, the nightcap was dessert. Howe would face Red Oak, the second-ranked team in Class B. The Eagles were undefeated on the season and won the Class B state championship last year.

Howe took the game to the Eagles from the very start. The only way Red Oak stayed close was the shooting of junior Dwight Camp, one of the best shooters I have seen in high school.

At one point, the 6-4 junior knocked down three straight baskets from well outside the three-point line, from different spots. All three shots touched little as they went through the gym.

But Howe kept its composure despite the play of Camp. In the second half, the Lions built a lead of nine points, but their two big guys fouled out and after Red Oak cut the lead to one, it looked bad for Howe.

Howe came back and took a lead, thanks to some clutch free-throw shooting, only to see Red Oak tie the score with 8 seconds left. The Lions roared down the floor and made a basket as the buzzer sounded, only the officals called walking and waved off the basket.

Red Oak scored first in overtime. Howe bounced back with a three-point basket by Jared Brown to take the lead and Jace Johnson added another basket to give the Lions a three-point lead.

Howe hit its free throws down the stretch, including six straight in the final 40 seconds to clinch the win and shock the Red Oak players, coaches and fans.

Camp finished with 32, but the balanced play by Howe was the difference. The Lions had four players in double figures, including Jared Wann, who scored 20 points in the finals and was MVP. Jaron Wiggington was also named to the All-Tournament team.

The only thing that could top this would be a double win in the finals of the LeFlore County Tournament. That will be extra tough, but judging from Saturday night, don’t count Howe out.

1 comment:

  1. You are such a wonderful writer!
    I enjoy all your stories!!