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Choctaw boys earn 6A regional title on Cam Hunt’s game-winner against Lawton

Glenpool girls rally in second half to race past Lawton MacArthur

By Glen Brockenbush 

LAWTON - Two Lawton basketball teams hosted regional finals on Saturday. 

However, neither of the home team’s fans went home particularly happy.

Lawton High’s boys basketball team had beaten Choctaw by 12 points early in the season. Fast forward two-plus months and take one of Lawton’s top players out of the equation and the result was different.

Despite being down by three possessions late in the game, the Yellowjackets made some shots, took advantage of missed free throws by the Wolverines and had the ball in a tie game with less than a minute to go.

The Jackets put the ball in the hands of senior guard Cam Hunt, who drained a jumper from just inside the 3-point arc with 11 seconds left to give Choctaw a late lead. Lawton’s ensuing possession ended with a traveling call when Tavaris Deans slipped, allowing the Yellowjackets to get the ball back and ice the game, 68-65.

Choctaw advances to the area finals against the top-seeded team in the 6A West bracket, Edmond North. The Wolverines will head to the area consolation bracket, where they’ll face the team Edmond North just squeaked past on Saturday, the Mustang Broncos.

Earlier on Saturday, the Lawton MacArthur girls team built a 13-point lead on a Glenpool squad that had to travel nearly three hours to play their regional after being sent to the 5A West bracket. But behind aggressive defense and outstanding play by two underclassmen, the Lady Warriors rallied and took the regional championship right from MacArthur’s grasp, 64-54.

Glenpool’s reward is an area championship date with top-seeded Midwest City Carl Albert, while the Lady Highlanders head to the consolation bracket against Del City.

Choctaw 68, Lawton 65 (6A boys regional final)

With 1:42 left in a tie ball game and no shot clock, Choctaw coach Jermaine Simpson opted to play for the final shot.

And despite plenty of players having made plays for his team all night, there was just one player Simpson wanted handling the ball in the situation: Cam Hunt, the only senior to see the floor for the Yellowjackets.

After dribbling for more than a minute-and-a-half, Hunt pulled up just inside the arc and shot over Madden Padilla, hitting nothing but net.

“We wanted to make sure that if we went to overtime, we went with our senior taking us to that point,” Simpson said. “We were pretty confident that, one-on-one, if they didn’t come to (double-team) him, he’d at least get a shot at the rim.”

After falling behind 10-2 early in the game, Lawton went on a 16-3 run to hold an 18-16 lead after a quarter. Despite being without Tyron Amacker - the team leader in points, rebounds and steals - for a sixth straight game, the Wolverines still moved the ball around well and attacked the basket well.

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Lawton got 13 first-half points from 6-foot-3 sophomore Tavaris Deans, and 11 from freshman guard DeAuvyahn Young. Despite a disadvantage in the height department, the Wolverines were able to get to the foul line with relative ease in the first half.

However, a theme of missed free throws began to develop for Lawton, as coach Cole Lehr’s team missed 10 of their first 11 attempts from the foul line.

The teams were tied at 22 with 5:30 left in the second quarter. Three-pointers from Madden Padilla and Pene Vaisagote, as well as a lay-up from Young, helped give Lawton a 30-24 lead with less than three minutes left in the half, and the Wolverines held a 38-33 lead at halftime.

Choctaw was able to cut the lead to 50-48 at the end of the third quarter, but Lawton kept its distance.

Still, the Wolverines’ inability to hit free throws gave Choctaw hope, as did the play of the Jackets’ inside duo of Will Smith and Isaiah Taylor. Both are part of a large and talented junior class for Simpson.

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“Most of these guys are juniors, so they’ve been through this as freshmen, as sophomores, so we just kind of learn by putting them out there,” Simpson said. “We just trusted them.”

Devarius Hardy hit a 3-pointer with less than five minutes left to give LHS a seven-point lead, though two quick baskets from the Jackets made it a one-possession game. Then, Hunt hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 62 with less than three minutes to go.

After a Padilla free throw gave the hosts a one-point lead, Choctaw got another 3-ball from another Cam (Hyman), to go up 65-63. Hardy hit two free throws to tie the game and set the stage for Hunt’s heroics.

Hunt finished the game with 11 points and four rebounds. Smith finished with a team-high 16 points and eight rebounds.

For Lawton, foul shooting proved to be the kryptonite, going 4-for-18 as a team. Deans and Young, after combining for 24 points in the first half, were held to a combined four points after halftime.

Frank Rowe scored all 10 of his points in the second half as well for the Wolverines.

Glenpool 64, Lawton MacArthur 54 (5A girls regional final)

Before the game even started, Glenpool was behind the 8-ball due to a fluke injury.

“In pregame warm-ups, we lost one of our senior starters, Kaydence Price, who didn’t even start the game,” Glenpool coach Bobby Belveal said. “Just a freak accident that hurt her thumb.

"So we had to shuffle our lineup right from the beginning. I think we played about 10 or 11 girls at one point.”

In a first half riddled with fouls, MacArthur finally took control behind Janaiya Fisher’s 12 first-half points. Mac led by 13 at one point in the first half, and led 30-21 at halftime.

But a flurry of turnovers and missed shots by the Lady Highlanders in the third quarter allowed Glenpool to get back in the game, cutting it to 36-34 at the 3:30 mark. Freshman Tyra McKinnie gave MacArthur senior Alayna Vines all she could handle in the paint, getting to the line four different times in the third quarter.

Of the eight free throws McKinnie attempted in the third, she converted seven.

Glenpool players celebrate their Class 5A regional tournament win. 

Glenpool players celebrate their Class 5A regional tournament win. 

Glenpool went on a 10-0 run that stretched across the end of the third quarter and into the beginning of the fourth, highlighted by baskets from McKinnie, sophomore Aaliyah Shawnee and senior Jorden Blades.

The Lady Highlanders were able to tie the game back up at 48 before Glenpool, with baskets from Shawnee and Camdyn Hull, went on a quick 6-0 run over the span of about a minute, forcing MacArthur coach Otis Gentry to call a time out with less than four minutes left.

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The Lady Highlanders cut the lead to 58-54 with two minutes left. Shawnee dribbled into the lane before dishing a pretty pass to McKinnie for the basket.

After an empty possession from Mac, Glenpool went down to the other end and got another basket from Shawnee to ice it.

McKinnie finished with 21 points, Blades had 17 and Shawnee poured in 16, 10 of them coming in the fourth quarter.

For MacArthur, Fisher led the team with 20 points, while Alysa Mack scored 15.