CHICKASHA – After winning the first two games in the Area Tournament, the Silo Rebels were rewarded with a rematch against 5th ranked perennial power Latta. The Rebels played the Panthers close in the regional finals a week earlier and battled back through the consolation bracket for the sequel in the Class 2A Area III finals.
Silo’s bid was cut one game short Saturday night as the grind of three games in three days caught up to the Rebels and the Panthers slowly pulled away for a 72-50 win.
“I’m sad we’re finished, but couldn’t be more proud of these young men,” Silo head coach Brett Frank stated afterward. “It’s been 40 years since Silo boys basketball has made an appearance in the State Tournament and these guys played their hearts out to have the opportunity to play in the game to get there.”
Latta opened the scoring but the lead see-sawed back and forth in the opening period. Silo got a deep three-pointer from Austin Thomas to give the Rebels their first lead of the game at 5-4, but neither team could muster more than a one-point lead until the Panthers reeled off three straight inside buckets to go up 14-9 at the 2:48 mark.
Silo got a bucket from Thomas and had a chance to tie the game when Nolan Brister connected on a driving layup and was fouled, but he misfired on the freebie and the Rebels trailed 16-13 after one.
The game remained nip-and-tuck through the first four minutes of the second period. Bryce Brister opened the stanza for Silo with a strong drive to the hoop and the Rebels stayed close behind the free-throw shooting of the Brister brothers.
Latta went up by a half-dozen on a trey by Trent Smith, before Bryce Brister connected on another drive and was fouled. After missing the charity toss, Smith drained another bomb for the Panthers as they carried a double digit lead (34-24) into the locker room at intermission.
Bryce Brister opened the second half on personal scoring flurry of his own, notching a jumper and a conventional three-point play to cut the deficit to single digits at 38-29. Senior post player Jake Hamilton also scored a pair of nifty buckets inside to keep the fight alive for Silo.
Freshman Patch Hamilton cashed in on both ends of a one-and-one, and showed his own range from the top of the key with a three-pointer, but Latta managed to pad the margin to 53-38 at the end of the third quarter.
The Brister connection struck for a trey each in the fourth quarter but it wasn’t enough to overcome the cushion the Panthers had built, denying Silo the state tourney berth.
“You can’t say enough positive things about this senior class. They finish their careers with three Bryan County Tournament championships, four district championships, and four trips to the Area Tournament,” an emotional Coach Frank added. “They have set a new standard of expectations for our program and the effects of their leadership will continue to show for years to come.”
The Rebels were topped by Bryce Brister’s game-high 24-point explosion while Nolan Brister chipped in nine. Thomas added seven tallies with Patch Hamilton and Jake Hamilton scoring five and four points respectively for Silo, which finished the season with a 24-7 record.
Latta was paced by Smith with 22 points and Adam Jordan with 16.