By CRAIG HALL
POTEAU—Poteau’s boys and girls stepped up a class when they hosted McAlester here Thursday night.
And both teams nearly pulled out wins before falling to Class 5A McAlester.
The Lady Pirates lost 54-49 while Poteau’s boys had a tying basket at the buzzer bounce away in a 60-58 loss.
In the second game of the night, Poteau trailed by nine points entering the fourth quarter before the Pirates rallied and had one tying basket waived off and a shot at the buzzer rim out.
With some assistance by McAlester missing its first five free throws of the final quarter, Poteau got back into the game quickly, outscoring the Buffaloes 13-6 after Marshall Jones’ offensive rebound and layup with 3:14 remaining to cut the deficit to 59-57.
Both teams missed a pair of free throws before Jones hit a basket with 1:18 left to tie the score. But the basket was taken away as Poteau was penalized for being in the lane for three seconds, the same call which was whistled on McAlester on its last possession.
McAlester missed another free throw while the Pirates failed on a long shot. Ben Collier hit the second of two free throws with 5.2 seconds left to put the Buffaloes up by two.
After a timeout, Poteau rushed the ball up the court, but the game-tying shot at the buzzer went in and rolled out, giving McAlester the win.
Kendrick Hardaway returned to the lineup after missing Tuesday’s loss to Roland and scored 20 points to lead the Pirates. Wilson Klutts added 13 points and Poteau, which dropped to 7-10, got big contributions off the bench from Jace Pitchford with seven points and Dylan Stone with six.
McAlester, now 9-7, only had four players score with three in double figures. Ashton Sims led the Buffaloes with 19 points, Ben Collier added 18 and Calvin Boyle had 14. Clifvonte Smitherman scored several key baskets for McAlester down the stretch and had eight.
Thanks to the scoring efforts of the Standridge cousins, Poteau’s girls were primed for an upset despite playing without starter Montana Roll, out with a high ankle sprain she suffered in Tuesday’s loss to Roland.
Shelby Standridge had one of her best nights of the year with 21 points and four 3’s while Kaitlan Standridge added 14.
Poteau had a five-point lead in the first half and was tied at 27 in the third quarter before McAlester used a 10-0 run late in the quarter to lead, 37-27.
The Lady Pirates got back in the game with a 6-0 run in the fourth quarter as Meagan Ryburn hit a free throw while Shelby Standridge nailed a 3 and was good on two free throws.
McAlester built the margin back to four before Poteau’s Briley Benson made a pair of free throws.
After the Lady Buffs upped the lead to 45-41, Poteau was hit with a costly technical after a foul call. McAlester made three of the four free throws and scored on the ensuing possession and the lead was back to nine.
Shelby Standridge and Ryburn each hit a pair of 3’s down the stretch, but McAlester never let Poteau, now 3-14, get closer than six points.
McAlester hit seven 3’s in the game with Lashanda Green making four of them. Green had 21 to lead the Lady Buffs while Heather Brozovich and Kaleisha Johnson each had 12.
Poteau is back in action Friday at Sallisaw.