LATTA – After rallying from eight down and trailing by just two points midway through the fourth quarter, Silo couldn’t have asked for a much better opportunity in Saturday night’s 2A boys regional championship.
The Rebels however couldn’t cash in on three straight possessions with a chance to tie or take the lead and fifth-ranked Latta was able to hit free throws down the stretch to pull away for a 55-47 victory.
“In games like this, against a team like Latta, you have to value every possession,” Silo head coach Brett Frank said afterward. “We had our chances but just couldn’t convert when we had a chance to tie or take the lead. Missed free throws and turnovers were costly for us.
“The focus on free throws is magnified in the playoffs and you have to capitalize with the clock stopped when you are trying to rally like we were.”
The opening half played out like a heavyweight fight with each team delivering big shots before the other would answer. Silo held a three-point edge in the first stanza before Latta responded to knot it at 11 after one thanks to five straight closing points from Trent Smith.
It was the Panthers who led through much of the second frame however, building as much as a five-point cushion with a minute to play before the Rebels got a three-pointer from Nolan Brister and 18-foot jumper from brother Bryce at the buzzer to knot it again at 26 going to intermission.
Patch Hamilton scored immediately to begin the third stanza and gave Silo a two-point edge but that would prove to be the Rebels’ final lead of the contest.
Smith came down and drilled a trey to put Latta back in front triggering a 14-4 run by the Panthers that culminated with another Smith bucket at the 1:49 mark. That made it 40-32 and the Rebels were playing catchup the rest of the way.
Dally Cheek’s trey ended the Panther flurry and Silo also got a conventional three-point play from Bryce Brister with 10 seconds remaining to trim the deficit to 41-38 at the end of the third.
Silo closed to within two twice in the fourth quarter after free throws from Austin Thomas and Bryce Brister, the latter of which trimmed the margin to 47-45 with 4:19 left.
Latta then ran into offensive difficulty with a turnover and two missed shots to leave the door open, but Silo was unable to capitalize during the key stretch. The Rebels missed two front ends of one-and-one chances at the charity stripe and then forced a pass looking for Bryce Brister on a three-point attempt.
Two Bryce Brister free throws with 1:18 remaining narrowed the margin to 50-47 but Latta ran its spread offense to perfection, milking 30 seconds off the clock before Smith was fouled. The Panthers then canned five charity tosses over the final 37 seconds to finish off the victory.
Bryce Brister totaled 15 points to lead Silo, but was the only Rebel that reached double figures. Cheek and Nolan Brister fell just shy with nine apiece while Patch Hamilton came off the bench with seven. Austin Thomas scored four and Jake Hamilton was limited to three points.
Scott led all scorers with a game-high 20 points for Latta, which upped its record to 24-4. Adam Jordan checked in with 14 and Dustin West added 10 for the Panthers.
Silo, 22-6, still moves on to the area tournament this week and will face Hobart at 8 p.m. Thursday in Chickasha in an elimination contest.
Contact Kevin Farr at 580-634-2161 or firstname.lastname@example.org