SAPULPA - The Durant Lions were one game form going to the State Tournament, but the Lions lost to the Deer Creek Antlers 54-45 in Saturday’s area playoff game.
“These are some impressive young men on this team,” said head coach Jason Wilkerson. “This senior class has so much character and heart, they led us all the way and to this game.” Sky Lowe led the team in scoring with 14 points, James Donelean had eight points, Zac Cater finished with six points. Tyler Stovall, Will Engle and Landry Wright all had five points a piece.
It was tightly contested game. Both teams trading buckets throughout. In the first period, the Lions’ shooters were a little cold. With the score in favor of Deer Creek 4-0, Durant then came alive.
Donelean broke the scoring ice with a bucket at the 4 minute mark and started an 8-0 run by the Lions.
Donelean would score again and teammate Lowe pitched in four points and Wright sunk a bucket. Lions led 10-5.
Deer Creek would rally back in the second period and stayed with Durant.
Deer Creek begun the second quarter with a 8-2 run and grabbed a 13-12 lead. But Durant bounced back with a 5-0 run and led 19-13. Then Deer Creek tied the game at 21-all.
Cater put up a late bucket and Deer Creek turn around and made a buzzer beater shot to knot up the game at 23 headed into halftime.
“Cater has some heart and the will to win. He was sick before the game and played through it,” said Wilkerson.
In the third period, Deer Creek came out hot and grabbed the lead from Durant. The Lions shots were off and Deer Creek outscored the Lions 12-6 and led 35-29.
The game got away from the Lions in the fourth period. Deer Creek begun the period with a 9-3 run and led 44-32.
The Lions fought back and drew within five points of Deer Creek with a 9-2 run. Lowe put in four points in the run and Stovall rounded out the run with a big 3-pointer.
However, the Lions only scored four point after that and Deer Creek finished off the game at the free throw line.
“When your one game from State, it was a successful season,” said Wilkerson.
On Friday, Durant reached the Area final with a 72-63 win over McAlester. It was the Lions’ third victory over the rival Buffs this season.
The game was held in Catoosa, but nearly 200 miles did not deter the Durant faithful from coming out to show support for their Lions.
And the tam did not disappoint. The Lions raced out to a 21-5 lead in the first quarter and held onto a 35-23 halftime lead.
James Donelan was a one-man swat team in the defensive paint until Will Engle got invited to the block party in the fourth quarter.
It was Engle’s 10 points in the final frame which held off a McAlester run and secured the playoff victory.
Skye Lowe led all Lions with 18 points, Zac Cater had 14, Donelan finished with 11, there was Engle’s 10, Tyler Stovall had nine, Taylor Cox six and Landry Wright four.