Skip to main content

Oklahoma 2A boys quarterfinals: Pocola regains momentum to down Hobart as Indians seek first title

Hooker holds on against Preston; Dale rolls, will face Hennessey in semifinals

OKLAHOMA CITY - Early in the fourth quarter Wednesday, Hobart made a serious run on Pocola

After trailing by double digits, the Bearcats looked like they might put some pressure on the No. 2 seed.

However, the Indians remembered why they were at the Big House. And it wasn’t going to be knocked out in the opening round of the state tournament.

“I was telling the team to keep their heads up, keep fine,” said PHS senior guard Garrett Scott. “We're in this game. We got this lead right now, and just don't give up. Keep going.”

Pocola turned the momentum around and went on to beat Hobart, 65-46, to advance to the 2A semifinals.

“We came out and we were a little in awe of the Big House,” Pocola coach R. Derek Barlow said. “I felt like we weren't really sure what we had done all season to get here. Took us a moment to remember, just go attack the basket.”

Oklahoma 6A boys quarterfinals: Owasso takes care of business against Norman High, 60-48

Scott led all scorers with 29 points on 8-of-18 shooting. Dakotah Terrell added 14 points and pulled down 13 rebounds.

But it was the Indians' defense on Hobart’s Justice Johnson that set the tone for the entire evening. Even though the senior finished with 17 points on 7-of-20 shooting, Pocola made him work for everything.

“Our coach told us we had to go out there and play defense and go out there and block out, especially No. 1 (Johnson), because he crashes the boards really well,” Scott said.

Pocola actually trailed early in the contest. It took Scott and Terrell to find the shot in the second quarter for them to reclaim the lead and hold a 26-21 halftime advantage.

“The problem wasn't on the defensive end, the problem was on our offensive end. Just not settling down and not recognizing when help was coming,” Barlow said. “It's frustrating when they do what you expect them to do and what you prepared your players for them to do, and then we act surprised that they're doing it.

"Then once we start calming down and realizing, ‘Hey, we're bringing help, move the ball and keep attacking the basket,' and we finally did those things and we pulled away.”

The Indians closed out the 2023 season by losing to Dale in the 2A semifinals on the same Big House floor. Since then, their only defeat came against Idabel last month.

PHS has designs on bringing the first-ever title in boys basketball to the school and plans to be the last team standing when the weekend concludes.

“Our mindset has been just work as hard as we can and keep going,” Scott said. “Keep our heads up. Never get down on ourselves or each other and just keep fighting and make it all the way.

"Winning it all is a very big thing. It'll be the first one in school history and we've been building up since my freshman year and it's been great ever since.”

Hooker 50, Preston 47

With less than a minute left in the contest, Preston trailed 46-42. However, Jervauis Goree turned the ball over and all Hooker needed to do was inbound the ball and wait to be fouled.

However, the Bulldogs returned the favor when Slade Stalder was unable to find a teammate on the inbound and just threw the ball into the middle of the court. The Pirates picked it up and Giorgia Dunn-Spence was fouled attempting a 3-pointer.

Oklahoma 3A boys quarterfinals: Oklahoma Christian School using last season's playoff loss as motivation 

The sophomore hit all three free throw attempts and closed the gap to one point.

But that would be as close as the Pirates got. Hooker made enough free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

Goree led all scorers with 27 points to go along with five rebounds, and two assists. Dunner-Spencer chipped in with 13 points.

Nate Hidalgo hit 8-of-11 shots and a couple of free throws to tally 18 points for Hooker.

Hooker faces Pocola at 9 p.m. Friday in the semifinals.

Dale 87, Warner 50

The defending 2A champions showed early that they weren’t in the overlooking mood. Dale jumped out on Warner from the very outset and didn’t let up.

The Pirates forced the Eagles into 20 turnovers. That includes 16 steals which they were able to turn into fast break points.

Warner’s Jace Jackson was able to find success shooting from the perimeter. He ended the night with 16 points.

But it wasn’t enough to stave off the full complement of weapons the Pirates brought to the table.

Oklahoma signee Dayton Forsythe led all scorers with 23 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Deken Jones added 16 points and four steals while Easton Edmonson and Levi Kelly each posted 10 points.

The Pirates improved to 28-2. Of their two defeats, only one has come to a team from Oklahoma.

Hennessey 59, Merritt 50

Hennessey led 38-35 heading into the fourth quarter against Merritt. And they quickly pushed it to 42-35 in the opening minute.

Jael Torres gave the Eagles a 49-41 advantage with 2:30 left in the game. Free throws continued to hurt the Oilers' comeback chances as Joshua Ligon missed 1-of-2 on the ensuing possession.

After Torres and Ligon exchanged baskets, Hennessey held a 51-44 lead with 1:25 on the clock.

Hunter Weber and Camdyn Richardson scored the next three points before the Oilers’ Caden Dunlap drained a 3-pointer to close the gap back to seven points.

Oklahoma 3A boys quarterfinals: Behind Chris Mason's inside presence, Victory Christian gets past Idabel 

Merritt forced the Eagles into a turnover. But the Oilers gave it right back with 49 seconds remaining.

Richardson knocked down a pair of free throws to give Hennessey a nine-point advantage and put the contest away.

Ligon scored 17 points for the Oilers. Caden Smith chipped in with 13.

Torres had a game high 22 points and 11 rebounds.

“They've been in some spots like that this year, so they're pretty mature about that stuff,” Eagles coach Brady Paige said. “But we kept feeding the big boy (Torres) and he kept getting us some baskets and then we played defense pretty well.”

Hennessey will now prepare for the biggest challenge of the season when they face No. 1 Dale Friday at 7:30 p.m.

“I hope we fight and do whatever we can to battle,” Paige said. “They're one of the best teams of all time, so hopefully we can fight, and we'll see how it turns out.”

-- Michael Kinney | @SBLiveOK