By CRAIG HALL
SPIRO—The finals of the 80th LeFlore County Tournament will be played at Spiro tonight.
In the girls’ game, Talihina and Spiro play at 7 p.m. while the Poteau and Spiro boys play at 8:30 p.m.
Three of the four semifinals were blowouts with only the Talihina and Spiro girls’ game being competitive.
The Lady Tigers edged Spiro, 51-49, in the final game Thursday. In the earlier semifinal contest, Howe cruised to a 71-37 win (See STORY).
In the boys’ semifinals Friday (see STORY), Spiro blasted Wister, 61-39, and Poteau was too much for Heavener in a 53-29 decision.
Poteau and Spiro will be meeting for the second time this year. The Pirates won the earlier meeting at Poteau, 64-43, on Dec. 13.
For the boys, Spiro will be going for its first championship since 2008 while Poteau is looking for its first title since 2004.
This is the 10th time the Pirates and Spiro will have played for the championship with the Bulldogs holding a 6-3 edge over Poteau in the finals. The last time the schools met for the championship was in 2005, a 50-49 win by Spiro.
Howe’s girls are in the finals for the sixth straight year. The Lady Lions lost in the finals the last two years to Heavener, but won the championship in 2008 and 2009. Talihina’s girls are looking for their first championship since winning it all in 1999.
The last time Howe and Talihina met in the finals was 1989, a 74-59 win by the Lady Lions.
Of the four teams in the finals, Spiro’s boys have won 23 county championships, Poteau’s boys nine, Howe’s girls nine and Talihina’s girls six.
In Saturday’s third place games, Bokoshe’s girls take on Spiro at 1;30 p.m. with Heavener’s boys matching up with Wister at 3 p.m.
A few interesting facts about the LCT:
*Mike and Melba Hall of Poteau have sons playing (Spencer) playing in the tournament and another son (Dustin) coaching in the tournament. Spencer plays for Poteau, which is in the finals tonight while Dustin coached Cameron into the fifth-place game where the Jackets lost to Pocola Friday. A daughter, Whitney Kirby, was an assistant coach for Pansy Kidd Middle School, which won the LCJHT during the first week of January.
*Chelsea Baggs will be playing in the finals for her second team. Baggs was part of the Howe team which lost in the finals to Heavener in 2010 as a sophomore and now is playing for Talihina, which plays Howe tonight in the girls’ finals.
*Don’t know if this is true, but there was talk that Dakota Watson of LeFlore is the fourth generation member of his family to play in the LCT.
*This is the sixth straight finals for the Howe girls. That ties the previous streak for a girls team appearing in the finals as LeFlore was in the finals from 1941-46. Spiro holds the mark for the boys, appearing in the finals every year from 1974-1983.