By CRAIG HALL
SPIRO—Spiro’s boys have been the king of the LeFlore County Tournament over the last 86 years.
The Bulldogs have won more championships than any other school. But this year, Spiro was not expected to even reach the finals, let alone win it.
Cedric Cobb took care of that for Spiro Saturday night in front of a packed house. The 6-foot-6 senior had the game of his life in leading the Bulldogs to a 63-59 win over Talihina to capture the 2018 LCT.
It was Spiro’s first championship in three years and the Bulldogs’ fifth in the last seven years.
Cobb scored 32 points, including 12 in the final quarter to give third-seeded Spiro the win over top-seeded Talihina.
Cobb had a key bock down the stretch, nailed a 3 and had a thunderous dunk and added a free throw on the play to give Spiro a four-point lead.
Spiro led the entire second half, but could never shake the Golden Tigers, who battled back an 11-point deficit in the third quarter to pull within one point twice in the final period.
Talihina’s Kobe Billy nailed a 3 with 2:05 left to narrow the gap to 54-53. After a Spiro turnover, the Golden Tigers had a chance to take the lead, but turned the ball over. Cobb hit a 3 before Talihina answered with a conventional 3-point play.
Cobb scored on a layup, was fouled and made the free throw for a 60-56 lead. Byrd hit a free throw before Spiro made enough free throws down the stretch to clinch the win.
Talihina’s chances to win were hurt as the Golden Tigers only hit 6-13 free throws in the final period.
The game was a rematch of the 2010 championship, won by Talihina 69-45 as current Golden Tigers’ coach Taggart Lockhart was a member of that team.
Spiro, now 9-6, also got 11 points from Cade Blankenship. Talihina, now 11-5 and ranked fifth in 2A, was led by Byrd’s 27 points and Billy scored 13.
Spiro 63, Talihina 59
Spiro 11 16 14 19—63
Talihina 10 9 18 22—59
Spiro—Ty Clayton 2 2-5 4 6; Mekhi Roberson 1 0-0 3 2; Cade Blankenship 4 1-2 1 11; Ethan Blankenship 1 0-0 1 3; Deontei Braggs 1 4-6 3 6; Dylan Ridenour 1 1-2 2 3; Cedric Cobb 11 6-9 4 32. TOTALS: 21 14-24 18 63.
Talihina—Nick McLemore 2 3-6 3 7; Dylan Blair 4 0-2 4 8; Kobe Billy 5 0-0 3 13; Kariim Byrd 9 9-16 4 27; Kyler Baugh 1 0-0 5 2; Austin Fenton 1 0-0 2 2. TOTALS: 22 12-24 21 59.
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