By CRAIG HALL
POTEAU—Poteau’s trip through the tough NOAA conference was again a rough one when Muldrow came to town Tuesday night.
Sporting a pair of teams with only three losses each, Muldrow’s girls built a huge lead and held on for a 56-42 win and the Bulldogs’ Nate Hamilton had a huge game in a 44-35 victory in Poteau’s final home game of the regular season.
Both Muldrow teams started off 0-2 with losses to Northside and Roland, but won their 15th games against only one loss since the rough start.
In the first game of the night, Muldrow was hot early and led by 14 points at the end of the quarter as Poteau struggled against the Lady Bulldogs’ press.
The lead grew to 46-20 before Poteau made things a little interesting. The Lady Pirates went on a 19-4 run pull within 11 points.
A 3-pointer by Addie Guthrie brought Poteau to within 10 but Muldrow hit its free throws down the stretch to keep the Lady Pirates winless in conference play.
Kate Williams led Muldrow’s balanced scoring with 12 points while Emily Martin and Natalee Frederick each had 10 points.
Kaitlan Standridge paced Poteau with 11 points and Montana Roll added 10.
In the second game, Poteau got in quick foul trouble as leading scorers Kendrick Hardaway and Wilson Klutts each picked up a pair of fouls early and missed a good portion of the half.
Muldrow took advantage and built a nine-point advantage at halftime. A 7-0 run over the final part of the third quarter and early in the fourth brought the Pirates to within five points.
Muldrow responded, outscoring Poteau 6-2 as Hamilton had four of the Bulldogs’ points in the run. Then, the game got interesting again.
Leading 39-30, Muldrow’s Dominic Blue was whistled for his fifth foul and drew a technical for throwing the ball away. That gave Poteau four free throws and the ball.
The Pirates hit 3-4 free throws to close the gap to six points, but they could not score and Hardaway fouled out for Poteau. Muldrow scored five points down the stretch while Poteau could only counter with a layup by Blake Roley.
Hamilton and free throws were the difference for Muldrow. The junior scored 22 points and the Pirates had trouble all night stopping him from driving. The Bulldogs also shot 25 free throws, making 17 while Poteau only shot 13 free throws, making six.
Poteau’s one big advantage in size was lost as Klutts had to sit a good portion of the game and Hardaway, the Pirates’ leading scorer, also spent more time on the bench than playing.
Hamilton was the only player in double figures for Roland. Blake Williams had 11 for the Pirates while Marshall Jones had eight and Roley seven.
Poteau closes out its regular season with road games at Spiro on Friday and Heavener on Tuesday before hosting Hilldale in the district tournament.