By CRAIG HALL
SPIRO—Throughout the 90 someodd years the LeFlore County Tournament has been played, there have been a lot of great games or games with thrilling finishes.
But it is doubtful there have been two games in a row as exciting as the first two semifinal basketball games Friday evening.
Because of all the winter weather pushed the start of the tournament back to Wednesday, all four semifinals were played on the same day.
We are streaming both games on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/@lLCJvideos63 and the Heavener School Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/heavenerpublicschools/.
In the first semifinal, after Spiro took a 43-41 lead with around 10 seconds left, the Lady Lions rushed the ball up the court and got it to Karsyn Nye in the corner. She launched a 3 from deep in the corner with the ball hitting the rim, bouncing straight up and then through the basket for a 44-43 to keep the defending champions alive.
Then, the second game almost topped that one. In a game where Heavener’s boys seldom led until the fourth quarter before the Wolves and Poteau traded leads in a physical contest that saw both teams receive multiple technicals.
Heavener had a 57-54 lead late when the Pirates’ Wyatt Gamble shot a 3 from NBA range that hit nothing but the bottom of the net to tie the score.
Heavener came right back down the court. Isaac Cook drove just to the left from the top of the key, split a pair of defenders, launched a shot from barely inside the lane. The ball banked off the backboard and through the basket with 2.2 seconds remaining. He was also fouled on the play and nailed the free point, converting a traditional 3-point basket in a game that was far from traditional. That made the score 60-57. Poteau did get a final shot off, but it missed, giving Heavener the win and a trip to the finals for the first time in 15 years.
Then, both Pocola teams advanced to the finals with convincing wins. The Lady Indians downed Poteau, 53-32 before the Indians moved a step closer to their third straight LCT championship with an 80-42 win over Wister in a rematch of last year’s finals.
So, the finals are in place. Howhttps://slktxt.io/Zha6e’s girls play Pocola at 7 p.m. with the Heavener and Pocola boys taking the court around 8:30 p.m. to close out a tournament that got a late start, but is closing with a strong finish.
Here are Friday’s scores
Heavener 60, Poteau 57
Pocola 80, Wister 42
Howe 44, Spiro 43
Pocola 53, Poteau 32
Cameron 52, LeFlore 35
Whitesboro 49, Arkoma 40
Panama 48, Talihina 41
Spiro 60, Howe 33
Whitesboro 37, Talihina 32
Panama 51, Heavener 26
Wister 45, Cameron 11
LeFlore 69, Arkoma 31.
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And Saturday’s schedule
Howe vs. Pocola 7 p.m.
Heavener vs. Pocola 8:30
Spiro vs. Poteau 2 p.m. at Spiro
Wister vs. Poteau 3:30 at Spiro
Whitesboro vs. Panama 1 p.m. at Arkoma
Panama vs. Spiro 2:30 p.m. at Arkoma
LeFlore vs. Wister 10 a.m. at Arkoma
Cameron vs. Whitesboro 11:30 at Arkoma
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