By CRAIG HALL
POTEAU—Poteau’s boys tossed a shutout in the third quarter en route to the championship of the junior high tournament here Thursday while Roland’s Mikiah McDonald led the Lady Rangers to the girls championship.
Poteau’s boys were heavily favored to win the tournament, but the Raiders had to overcome an off-night shooting to win, 34-21, while Mikiah McDonald put on an all-star worthy show in Roland’s 50-43 win over Spiro’s girls.
See CRAIG’S BLOG on the tournament finals.
After trailing 11-3 after the first quarter, Poteau was in control over the final three quarters. The Raiders went on an 11-0 run in the second quarter to take a lead, allowing only a late three to tie the game at the half, 14-14.
Those three points were the only ones of the second and third quarters as Poteau held Sallisaw scoreless in the third quarter and seized control by outscoring the Diamonds, 10-0. To take a 24-14 lead.
Sallisaw could not score until 4:37 left in the game and Poteau was well on its way to the championship by that point.
Poteau’s pressure defense started causing all kinds of problems in the second quarter and forced countless turnovers by the visitors. From the end of the first quarter through early in the final period, the Raiders outscored Sallisaw, 25-3.
The Diamonds did cut the lead to eight points in the fourth quarter but the Raiders’ Gaven Brown finished off Sallisaw’s hopes by scoring five quick points to clinch the championship.
Brown finished with 13 to lead Poteau while Kanaan Hardaway and Dalton Brown each had eight.
In the earlier game, Spiro appeared to be heading to the championship as Carleigha Thompson scored 17 points in the first half and the Lady Bulldogs held a 22-17 lead at intermission. With several Roland players in foul trouble, Spiro looked like it was headed for a win.
The third quarter was a different story. McDonald scored 19 points in the third quarter as Roland blitzed Spiro with a 22-6 run to take a 39-28 lead heading into the final period.
Spiro kept battling back, but McDonald was too much. She finished with 39 points, 26 in the second half in leading the Lady Rangers to the championship.
Thompson added 12 in the second half to finish with 29 for Spiro.
Wister’s girls downed Sallisaw, 40-30, in the third-place game as Kaylee Roath had 15 points and Kyla Brown added 12 for Wister. Muldrow’s boys edged Roland in the boys third-place game, 42-37.