Monday, January 10, 2011

Future looks bright for county basketball

The future looks bright for LeFlore County basketball if the junior high county tournament is any indication.
Arkoma’s girls and Talihina’s boys won the county tournament with wins over Spiro in the finals Saturday night.
Arkoma, which has struggled at the varsity level over the last few years, has an eighth-grade class that could change that.

The Lady Mustangs are a machine, improving to 14-0 with the win over Spiro and Carleigha Thompson, one of the best eighth-grade players the county has produced.

Arkoma’s first five is solid, well coached and a team that could make a run at the high school LCT if the girls stay together. Kira Shepard was the MVP for Arkoma and stood out in the finals, although she had a lot of help from her talented teammates.

For the boys, it was another example of a team playing together to win over a Spiro team which featured its own version of twin towers in McKinley Whitfield and T.J. Mayes, who both towered over players from other county teams.

The Bulldogs also had a talented guard in Bobo Davis, who scored 24 points in the win over Wister in the semifinals.

But in the finals, Talihina played excellent defense, used balance scoring and got clutch shooting from Alan Lockhart and Zach Baugh to beat the talented Bulldogs.

Lockhart, the younger brother of Talihina standout Taggart Lockhart, was named the tournament MVP and hit the go-ahead three-point basket. But the difference was the team play from the Tigers, who kept their composure and never let Spiro’s pressure push them out of their game.

Poteau also showed the makings of a good team as the Raiders have a standout seventh-grade class that helped them capture third place. Wister, which only started one eighth grader, also shows the makings of a good team with the four seventh-grade starters.

A lot can change between now and four years down the road, but if the players and teams stay together and continue to improve, hopefully these teams will go deep in the county tournament.

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