By CRAIG HALL
SPIRO—It was turn back the clock night here Friday night when Spiro hosted Poteau in a battle of LeFlore County rivals.
The boys played a game which appeared to be out of the 1950s until late, while Poteau’s girls looked like the team which finished strong last year with a win over Muldrow in the district tournament.
Spiro’s boys held off a late charge by Poteau to win, 41-35, in a rematch of the finals of the LeFlore County Tournament, also won by the Bulldogs, while the Lady Pirates had no letdown in a 46-33 victory.
Since it was Spiro’s homecoming, the boys played first and both teams acted like the alarm clock had not gone off until after halftime.
After a first half in which the two teams scored at the pace of an elementary game, Spiro finally got going in the fourth quarter thanks to a rare four-point play by Devon Perry to build an eight-point lead after his six points early in the quarter.
Poteau was far from finished. The Pirates, who had shot a dismal percentage up to that point of the game, finally got hot.
Wilson Klutts hit three 3-point baskets and Kendrick Hardaway added another as the Pirates fought back to tie the score at 32 following Hardaway’s shot with 3:25 left.
Spiro countered with a basket by Aaron Hamby and a 3-point basket by Knifeis Carter to go up 37-32 with just under two minutes remaining.
Klutts hit his final trey with 1:36 remaining to pull the Pirates within two. Spiro then came up with a pair of big rebounds on missed shots and Carter’s two free throws gave the Bulldogs a 39-35 lead with 48 seconds left.
Poteau failed to answer and Jermaine Jimmerson clinched the win for Spiro on a pair of free throws with 13 seconds left.
Both teams struggled to score in the first half and Spiro led, 10-9, at halftime.
Free throws and fouls played a big part in the win for the Bulldogs as they were 11-18 from the line while Poteau only shot four free throws, making three. Spiro was also only whistled for five fouls while the Pirates had 16.
Perry came off the bench to pace Spiro with 14 points while Carter added 13. Klutts had Hardaway each had 12 for Poteau.
After losing the first game between the two rivals in December, Spiro won the final two games of the season.
Poteau’s girls played one of their best games of the year in winning their first conference game of the season. The Lady Pirates have lost leads in several games this season, including the earlier game at home against Spiro.
But not this time as Briley Benson did an outstanding job taking care of the ball for Poteau as the Lady Pirates avoided turnovers against Spiro’s defense for much of the night.
Plus, Poteau’s defense kept Spiro’s Philicea Mack and Meochea McKesson from having big games, holding Mack to 10 points and McKesson to eight.
After Spiro cut the lead to six points early in the third, Poteau used a 6-0 run to build the lead to 12 points. Montana Roll, Colleen Peterson and Kaitlan Standridge scored for the Lady Pirates in the stretch.
Spiro pulled within eight points after baskets by Sarika Willis and Mack. Standridge scored for Poteau while Roll hit a basket right before the buzzer ended to put Poteau back up by 12.
Standridge scored again early in the third quarter and Peterson hit one of two free throws for a 15-point lead. Standridge added another basket with 5:20 left and Poteau led, 42-25.
Spiro went on a 6-0 run to trim the margin to 11 points only to see Peterson hit two free throws and Standridge score again to put the game away.
Two sophomores, Standridge and Roll led the Lady Pirates. Standridge finished with 20 points while Roll had 12.
Poteau closed out the regular season Tuesday at Heavener while Spiro hosts Stigler Monday. Both schools open district play next week as Poteau hosts Hilldale while Spiro travels to Eufaula.