Wednesday, December 14, 2011

No clear cut favorite for LCT

The first mega game of the 2011-12 season has come and gone and the 2012 LeFlore County Tournament is now just over a month away.

One thing that has been shown is there is no clear cut favorite to win the tournament. Talihina’s boys and Heavener’s girls each won the last two years, but with both of those teams rebuilding, a new champion for both divisions will likely be crowned.

For the boys, Spiro is the top seed. But as second-seeded Poteau proved in its 64-43 win Tuesday night, the Bulldogs can be beat. Spiro will have the home-court advantage in the LCT again and still has to be considered the favorite, although the Pirates landed the first punch of the season.

Spiro is easily the most athletic team of the county, but when the outside shots aren’t falling, like in Tuesday’s game, the Bulldogs are vulnerable. And Poteau has the guard play and height to cause Spiro problems.

The Bulldogs also can’t have a meltdown like they did last night where their players were whistled for four technicals. While Spiro must learn to keep its cool, Poteau must improve its free throw shooting if the Pirates hope to win.

Poteau was 21-37 from the charity stripe in the win, but missed eight of its first 10 free throws in the fourth quarter when the game was still in doubt.

Heavener also can cause problems with a solid team and good height. But the Wolves have gotten off to a slow start against some tough competition, which includes Spiro and Stilwell.

Cameron, Howe, LeFlore and Wister are the smaller schools which could cause some problems in the tournament for the bigger schools.

For the girls, Howe was seeded No. 1, Spiro was second, Talihina third and Bokoshe fourth. But, Howe lost to Rattan last week and Spiro fell at Stigler. Talihina is now the only undefeated team in the county after Arkoma knocked off Bokoshe on its home court last night.

After Rattan lost to Howe, Talihina defeated Rattan. It was on Talihina’s home court, but if the tournament was seeded now, the Lady Tigers would probably be the top seed.

The Lady Tigers don’t have a lot of height, but are very athletic. Howe and Spiro have height and experience in playing in big games as the Lady Lions have been to the last two LCT finals while Spiro reached the state tournament last year.

Bokoshe is the fourth seed, but has been playing without one of its best players in Jamie Carberry. She can’t return until the second semester, if Carberry does rejoin the Lady Tigers.

Arkoma’s girls have been the biggest surprise. After struggling for a long time, the Lady Mustangs are easily the most improved team in the county. With several players off the team which won the junior high county championship last year, Arkoma is 5-2, won its own tournament and scored the upset over Bokoshe.

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