By CRAIG HALL
POTEAU—Poteau’s Pansy Kidd Middle School was not the most hospitable host in the finals of the 2012 LeFlore County Junior High Tournament finals Saturday.
Poteau was the host for this year’s tournament, but instead of sharing the championships, the Raiders and Lady Raiders won both events played before a huge crowd at the Mick Thompson Field House.
Both finals came down to the wire before Poteau prevailed. The Lady Raiders held off a late charge by Howe to win, 28-23, while Poteau’s boys stayed undefeated and held off a tough Wister team, 39-32, in a game which was closer than the final score would indicate.
In games played earlier, Heavener’s boys won third place with a 33-31 win over Cameron while Hodgen’s girls captured the third-place contest with a 41-27 win over Spiro.
Hodgen was behind 15-0 at the end of the first quarter before dominating the final three quarters to win. Also, Panama’s girls won the fifth-place game, 38-26, over Wister while Spiro’s boys captured fifth with a 36-33 victory over Howe.
In the girls championship game, Poteau led throughout and had a 19-8 lead going into the final quarter before Howe rallied. The Lady Lions outscored Poteau 6-1 to start the fourth quarter, fell behind again by nine points before a basket by Jentry Brown and a three-point shot by Morgan Hillebrand cut the lead to 23-19.
Sunnie McConnell made one of two free throws to up the lead to 24-19 before Howe used free throws by Allison Beames and Jazmine Lopez to pull within three points. Yazmin Castanon scored for Howe with 25 seconds left and Poteau’s lead was only one.
McConnell gave Poteau a three-point lead by banking two free throws with 18.1 seconds left and after Howe missed a three to tie the score, Kandace Standridge scored on a breakaway layup just before the buzzer.
McConnell led Poteau with nine points while Standridge finished with eight. Braden Dorsey had eight points to lead Howe.
Poteau’s boys toppled Wister for the second time this season in a game where the Raiders could never shake the Wildcats.
After Wister tied the score at 26 with 4:39 left on a basket by Adrian Gonzalez, Gavin Brown scored on a traditional three-point basket and then hit a deep three to give Poteau a 32-26 lead.
Jake Sconyers scored to cut the lead to four before Brown was perfect on a pair of free throws. Sconyers scored again for the Wildcats with 52 seconds left.
After a timeout, Poteau’s Kanaan Hardaway broke free for a layup but was fouled. The officials called an intentional foul, giving Hardaway two free throws and Poteau the ball. Hardaway made one of the two free throws and Brown was perfect again on two free throws after being fouled.
Poteau added two more free throws by Hardaway with 19 seconds left to up the score to 39-30. Jesse Hammons finished off the scoring with a pair of free throws for Wister with less than a second remaining for the final 39-32 score.
Brown scored 10 of his game-high 17 points in the fourth quarter. He was 5-5 from the line in the period. Sconyers finished with 14 for Wister.