By CRAIG HALL
POTEAU—In the third quarter of Tuesday’s game between Spiro and Poteau’s boys, both teams had foul problems with their standout guards.
Poteau played it safe and brought Kendrick Hardaway to the bench. Spiro kept Knifeis Carter on the court and paid the price.
Carter fouled out with 7:30 left and Spiro trailing, 44-37. The Bulldogs lost their leading scorer along with their composure as Poteau went on a 20-2 run to clinch the 64-43 win.
Earlier, Poteau’s girls built a big lead, not that it matters to Spiro in this rivalry. The Lady Pirates were ahead 21-10 at the end of the first quarter, but Spiro rallied from 16 back in the second half last year on the same court and the Lady Bulldogs dominated the two middle quarters in a 50-40 win.
In the nightcap between the two top seeds in the upcoming LeFlore County Tournament, it was a war throughout as getting a good look against these two defenses was not an easy task.
Poteau trailed at halftime, 29-27, but scored the first 10 points of the third quarter to grab a 37-29 lead, only to see Spiro score the first three points of the final quarter to close within four.
Wilson Klutts knocked down a three from the corner and Carter, one of the best shooters in the county, fouled out with 6:47 left. Poteau missed the two foul shots and the two technical free throws and Ty’Quan Seymour scored to cut the lead to 44-39, but that was the last points the Bulldogs would score until the game was well out of hand.
Klutts nailed another three to put the lead at 47-39 and made one of two free throws and the margin was eight.
Devon Perry then fouled out and Spiro was hit with two more technicals. The Pirates were given six free throws and made half of them and the lead was at 12. Jarrett Lowrimore added a pair of free throws, Marshall Jones hit a layup, followed by a pair of free throws by Hardaway and a basket by Klutts and Poteau had a 20-point lead before both teams brought in reserves.
Spiro finished with four technicals and Poteau, which played its first six games of the year in Arkansas tournaments, handed the Bulldogs their first loss of the season.
Hardaway avoided picking up his fifth foul down the stretch and finished with 25 points, 17 in the first half. Klutts added 17 for the Pirates, now 3-4, while Lowrimore had nine.
Carter had 15 for Spiro, now 3-1, before fouling out.
In the first game of the night, Spiro rallied in the second quarter to grab a 27-25 lead at halftime. Meocha McKesson took over in the third quarter, scoring 13 of Spiro’s 17 points in the period as the Lady Bulldogs built a 44-35 lead.
Over the two middle quarters, Spiro outscored Poteau 34-14 and that was the difference in the game, along with the play of McKesson and Philicea Mack.
Mack added 15 points as the big girls for Spiro, now 3-1, combined for 34 points and constantly grabbed offensive rebounds to get second and sometimes third shots.
Kaitlan Standridge led Poteau with 12 points and Montana Roll had 10, seven in the first quarter.