ADA – The East Central Oklahoma Classic basketball tournament in Ada got under way Thursday. The Durant Lions edged Tahlequah 66-64 to advance to the winner’s bracket and the Lady Lions fell to Newcastle 69-29.
The Durant Lions must have nerves of steel. The Lions took the lead away from Tahlequah in the final minute of the fourth quarter to complete their come from behind win. The win raised the Lions record to 6-3 on the season.
The Lions had three players in double-digits. Alex Steve finished with 19 points, Haroon Akthler poured in 14 points on the back on five 3-pointers, Taylor Cox had 14 points from the field, West Engle hit three 3-pointers for 9 points, Tre Harper had 5 points, Broday Morgan had 2 points.
The Lions started out cold in the first period as they were outscored 17-9.
In the second period, the Lions found their shots and started to chop away at Tahlequah’s lead. Harper opened the period with a 3-pointer and both teams traded buckets. Tahlequah led 30-16 with three minutes left to go when Durant would hit three 3-pointers by Cox, Akthler and Engle to close the second period and trailed 35-25.
Tahlequah started the third period with two consecutive three point buckets. Durant’s Akthler answered back with back-to-back 3-pointers. With the score 45-33 in favor of Tahlequah, Durant hit three more three point buckets by Engle, Steve and Akthler hit the last shoot from beyond the arc at the buzzer and Durant trailed 49-44 headed into the final frame of the game.
Both team traded buckets for most of the fourth quarter. Tahlequah had the lead 64-63 with one minute left in the game, Tahlequah turned the ball over on a traveling call and Durant made them pay for their mistake as Steve hit a bucket to give the Lions a 65-64 lead. With 11 seconds left, Steve split his free throws to give the Lions a 65-64 lead. Tahlequah had the ball with 5 seconds left and missed their shot at the buzzer and the Lions won.
The Lions played tonight at 8:30 p.m.
The Lady Lions had their hands full with Newcastle as the Lady Lions had trouble getting their offense going.
In the second period, the Lady Lions trailed 15-6 with five minute left. Then Haley Morgan got a bucket, but the Newcastle went on a 7-0 run and Ciera Taylor stop the run with a bucket and the Lady Lions trailed 22-10. Newcastle went another run of 8-0, then Morgan hit a 3-pointer and Taylor closed out the period at the free throw line and the Lady Lions trailed 31-15.
Newcastle hit four 3-pointers in the third period and outscored Durant 15-8. Taylor had a bucket, Breanna Simmons had four points and Hannah Hime got a bucket for Durant in the third period and Newcastle led 48-23.
The Lions scored only six points in the fourth period and fell 69-29.
The Lady Lions play today at 1 p.m.
Contact Randy Bruce at 580-634-2161 or Twitter @SportsBruce.