By CRAIG HALL
SPIRO—For the 10th time, Poteau’s boys and Spiro will hook up for the championship as the 80th annual LeFlore County Tournament concludes Saturday night.
Both schools advanced to the finals with fairly easy wins in the semifinals and will be looking to add more hardware to their trophy cases (See STORY).
Spiro ran past Wister in the first semifinal, 61-59, while Poteau overcame a slow start and downed Heavener in the second semifinal, 53-29.
Howe’s girls take on Talihina in the girls’ championship game at 7 p.m. with the boys scheduled to tip off at 8:30 p.m.
In Friday’s first game, Spiro jumped out to a 19-4 lead just minutes into the game and eventually held a 12-point margin. The Bulldogs’ speed and quickness were too much for the Wildcats as Devon Perry and Knifeis Carter each had 15 points, Jermaine Jimmerson had 12 and Tye Hawkins 11.
Wister had a height advantage with Cody Luman and Tyler Gibson, but Spiro’s harassing defense gave up few open looks and challenged most shots by the Wildcats’ leading scorers.
Gibson scored 16 points to lead Wister while Luman added nine. Spiro improves to 10-4 overall while Wister drops to 12-6.
Poteau got a big boost from Marshall Jones and the reserves in the win over Heavener. The Pirates fell behind 12-11 in the second quarter when Jones made his impact.
Jones, who normally is not one of the Pirates’ leading scorers and is counted on more for his defense and rebounding, scored eight points in the quarter and Poteau went on a 14-0 run in the second quarter to take control of the game.
A good part of the rally came with Jones and Poteau reserves on the court, giving the starters a break. As Heavener went cold, Poteau heated up and the Pirates held a 27-14 lead at the half.
Heavener could not challenge in the final half as Poteau’s matchup zone kept the Wolves from getting good shots and the Pirates held on for their second easy win over the opponents this season.
Jones led Poteau with his 12 points while Kendrick Hardaway added 10. Trevor Smith had 10 and Luke Culpepper nine for the Wolves.
In the fifth-place games played earlier on Friday, Briley Benson scored the only points in overtime as Poteau’s girls defeated Heavener, 35-33, while Pocola downed Cameron, 56-40.