By CRAIG HALL
PANAMA—Taylor Farley gave Pocola’s girls a big life while the Indians survived against one of their biggest rivals in Class 2A district tournament play here Friday night.
Pocola’s girls advanced with a 56-29 win over Gore behind the strong play of Farley and Shayla Thompson while the Indians grabbed a big lead early and ended Panama’s season, 69-51.
The Lady Indians dominated the first half and after two baskets by Farley to start the third quarter, led 31-16.
Gore responded with a 9-0 run to get back in the game. No sweat for Pocola, however, as the Lady Indians scored the final seven points of the quarter to lead 38-25 going into the fourth quarter.
The Lady Indians put the game away by opening the fourth quarter on a 16-2 run before turning the game over to the reserves. It was a 23-2 run by Pocola that kept the Lady Indians alive and gave them a shot to win the district title when they play Panama Saturday.
Farley scored eight of Pocola’s nine points in the third quarter and added six more in the final period to lead the Lady Indians with 20 points. Thompson, a fellow sophomore, added 15 for the young Pocola team which will be looking for its second win over Panama in the last couple of weeks in the title game.
Kelsi Brooks led Gore with 17 of her team’s 29 points as the Lady Pirates closed out their season.
Pocola’s boys did not receive a bye in the first round of the district despite entering the contest with only four losses so a loss would end the Indians’ season.
The Indians made sure that was not going to happen as they opened a 16-3 lead early and never let the Razorbacks threaten over the remainder of the contest.
Every time Panama tried to get a run going, the Indians answered. Panama stayed within striking distance until Pocola went on a 6-0 run over the latter part of the third quarter and early in the fourth quarter to build the lead to 16 points.
Grant Severe, one of only two seniors on the roster, scored 11 of his 21 points in the second half to lead the Indians while Preston Hobbs had 16. Tanner Francis and Tyler Hutchins added 10 for Pocola.
Anthony Milburn closed out his career at Panama with 17 points and sophomore Jason Lovell added 11 for the Razorbacks.
Pocola’s girls play Panama at 6:30 p.m. while Pocola’s boys take on Gore in the second game for the district championships.