By CRAIG HALL
WILBURTON—Bokoshe overcame the absence of one of its top players and a big shooting slump to rally late and down Panola, 36-33, in overtime to win the championship game of the Eastern Oklahoma State College Tournament Blue Bracket here Saturday night.
Bokoshe built a big lead at halftime, then had two bad scoring streaks in the final half of the game to remain undefeated and win the tournament.
After Panola rallied to tie the score at 32 at the end of regulation, Bokoshe turned the ball over to start the overtime session. The Lady Bearcats stalled until a minute left and as soon as they started running a play, Rachel Swindle stole the ball to give Bokoshe possession.
Tournament Most Valuable Player Miranda McFarland found Brianna Brassfield open for a layup and the Lady Tigers had a 34-33 lead.
Panola’s Bailey Scarberry, who led her team’s late run to force overtime, hit one of two free throws with 21 seconds left.
McFarland was fouled and made of her two free throws to give the Lady Tigers a 35-33 lead. Panola had another turnover with 6.6 seconds and had to foul McFarland on the inbound play.
She made one of two from the line and Bokoshe’s lead was back at three points. Panola missed a long three as the buzzer sounded, giving the Lady Tigers the tournament championship.
The game looked like it would not be in doubt early as Bokoshe built a 21-8 lead at halftime as the Lady Tigers dominated the second quarter.
But Panola scored the first seven points of the third quarter and slowly crept back into the game. After McFarland’s layup with 3:59 left, Bokoshe had a 32-24 lead.
But the Lady Tigers went scoreless for a stretch of 6:32 over the final part of regulation and most of overtime and Panola took advantage.
Scarberry scored eight straight for the Lady Bearcats, the final points tying the score with 28 seconds left in regulation.
Bokoshe then got a break as Panola missed a pair of free throws with 11.2 seconds left and a basket late to keep the game tied at 32.
McFarland had 10 points to lead a balanced scoring attack as Bokoshe played without Jamie Carberry, one of the Lady Tigers’ leading scorers, who won’t be back until the second semester.
The Lady Tigers improved to 7-0 on the season and play Monday at McCurtain.