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By Buck Ringgold

MULDROW — On the heels of a tough loss at Sallisaw on Tuesday and a difficult road trip next week, the Muldrow's boys faced a must-win situation Friday.

Especially facing a Checotah squad that had already defeated the Bulldogs earlier this season.

But the Bulldogs got that much-needed win, as senior Konnor Wight and junior Trenden Collins each scored 22 points to help Muldrow post a 67-41 win in the Bulldogs' Homecoming game Friday night at the Roger Sharp Activity Center.

"We had the energy when we needed to play at the intensity level," Muldrow coach Terry Collins said.

"The energy and stuff, and just us playing together and being on the same page is what I was really prouder of (Friday)."

It also helped having Trenden Collins and Wight, arguably the Bulldogs' top two go-to players, heating up at the same time.

Along with both players scoring 22 points, Wight knocked down five 3-point baskets and Collins added four treys. Collins also threw down a pair of dunks.

"I think it's hard to guard both of us at the same time when we're hot," Wight said. "I think that's probably the first time this season where we've both been really hot, and it's good."

The Bulldogs (11-6) led from start to finish, building an early 9-2 lead. Collins had his first dunk after receiving a feed from teammate Kaden Chandler as Muldrow still led by seven, 14-7, after one quarter.

Wight and Collins then had 3's in the final minutes of the opening half as Muldrow took a 25-16 lead at halftime.

The Wildcats got within six, 29-23, early in the second half on a 3 from Montana Warrior. But the Bulldogs, specifically Wight and Collins, picked things up.

Checotah had a chance to get within one possession on its next trip, but Collins blocked a 3-point attempt. He grabbed the rebound and went the length of the court for a lay-up while being fouled.

Collins finished off the three-point play.

Wight then hit back-to-back 3's as the Bulldogs extended their lead to double digits. He added a three-point play of his own for a 41-25 advantage.

"I had a slow start to the season, but I think these last few games has been really good," Wight said. "I've been knocking my shots down and getting to the basket and seeing open teammates; it's been well.

"Then my team has been getting me open and hitting me, and I've still been knocking shots down."

Collins then provided another highlight-reel play with a steal, followed by a thunderous two-handed slam. Later, Wight came up with a steal and layup of his own as Muldrow went up by 20, 47-27, late in the third quarter.

"It was just things that wasn't coming together in the first half, and it took us some time to really get in a rhythm and get on the same page and stuff," Terry Collins said. "The second half, you saw that coming together."

Friday's win avenged a 57-53 loss to Checotah on the Wildcats' home court in December. But Muldrow went back to Checotah last week and beat the Wildcats, 66-34, in the third-place game of the Checotah Crossroads Classic.

Terry Collins, though, wanted his team to really bounce back from Tuesday's 54-52 loss at Sallisaw.

"I was hoping that would light a fire under us and pick up the intensity and pick up the play, and come out and compete with Checotah," he said.

Along with Trenden Collins and Wight, Chandler reached double figures as he finished with 10 points. The Bulldogs hit 11 3's on the night.

Warrior led the Wildcats (7-8) with 12 points, while Maddox Bridges added 10.

The Bulldogs now have two big road games next week, going to Stilwell on Tuesday and to Roland next Friday.

Muldrow lost to Roland on the Bulldogs' home court in December, but beat the Rangers in Roland earlier this month to repeat as Sequoyah County Area Classic champions.

Muldrow 41, Checotah 10

GIRLS - Another member of the Wight family had a big night of her own Friday.

Konnor Wight's younger sister Kennedi, a 5-foot-10 sophomore, led the Lady Bulldogs with 13 points as Muldrow started Friday's game by scoring the first 10 points.

"He is always pushing me, and he helps a lot with how I play and he's like a coach to me," Kennedi Wight said of her brother.

But Kennedi Wight also likes the sisterhood displayed by her team these days. With Friday's win, the Lady Bulldogs (14-3) have now won nine straight games, highlighted by first-place finishes at both the Sequoyah County Area Classic and the Checotah Crossroads Classic.

"I think we really play as a team, so that obviously helps a lot, but it's just really easy to work with these girls because we're not all really about ourselves, so it's just easy to play together," Wight said.

Muldrow coach Jana Armer, who has guided the team since 2000, still believes the best is yet to come for her squad.

"I really think our best basketball is still ahead of us," Armer said. "We've had a pretty good stretch together, but I still don't think we've played our best basketball.

"We definitely didn't (Friday); we missed a lot of shots that we've made here recently, but I do think they'll go as deep as their defense will take them. We normally shoot the ball better than that and intensity, playing hard, those kinds of things, they do that for the most part, so I think they've got a chance to make a pretty deep run."

Muldrow's defense was definitely on point Friday, as the Lady Bulldogs held Checotah (4-14) scoreless in the first quarter and again in the final quarter.

Mason Anstine had two of the team's three opening-quarter baskets as Muldrow took a 7-0 lead into the second quarter. Wight had three baskets and Jensi Fields hit a 3 in the second as the Lady Bulldogs built a 24-6 halftime advantage.

"On any normal night, we play 12 kids, and of those 12, there's one senior, four juniors and the rest are sophomores and freshmen," Armer said. "They're a young group and they're learning every day; every day, something new comes up that we have to talk about and discuss but they ask questions and watch film. 

"What I really love about them, number one, they are a team. They are all about winning; not about who gets the glory or who scored the most points. They just have a good time, they have fun, they are coachable."

The Lady Bulldogs haven't lost since mid-December, when they lost consecutive home games to Stilwell and Roland.

They get a chance for payback next week, as they go to Stilwell on Tuesday and to Roland next Friday, though Muldrow did win at Roland to claim the Sequoyah County title earlier this month.