The Lions began the night holding off Idabel, 32-31, in a down-to-the-wire thriller. The Lady Lions overcame a slow start and then pulled away for a 46-29 decision.
Good defense is a great equalizer. By forcing Idabel to take tough shots it put more pressure on the Warriors to sink the easy ones. Idabel had the opportunity with the last play of the game to hit a winning basket, but the lay-up overshot the rim, and the Lions kept it alive until time expired.
“It’s very tough to win at Idabel,” said Durant coach Scott Lowrance. “I’ve brought teams in here that were a lot better than Idabel and didn’t come out of here with a win.
“Every time these guys step on the floor is an opportunity to get better. I couldn’t be prouder. Defensively, we stuck to our game plan. The last play was a typical possession, and we just kept tipping and tipping it, and never quit on it. They don’t have any quit in them. They played with a lot of heart.”
The Lions (2-6) kept pace with the Warriors, trailing 8-7 after the first quarter and 15-14 at the half. Idabel’s Dewey Whitaker opened the second half with a 3-pointer, but Durant’s Edward “Spuds” Cook answered with a trey that sparked a 9-0 run. Idabel scored the last three points of the period and cut into the Lions’ lead 23-21 before the final period.
Another Whitaker jumper tied the game at 23-all to begin the period before another 3-point answer from Cook. The teams continued to exchange baskets before the Lions were able to take a four-point lead at the 3:17 mark. Travon Williams swiped the ball and got it to Sam Steve who raced to the other end and wound up converting a 3-point play.
Each team added a foul shot before Idabel’s Deandre Johnson brought his team within one with a 3-pointer at the 1:04 mark. Neither squad could follow with a field goal, and Idabel chewed up about 30 seconds on the last possession looking for the winning shot that never came.
Cook led the Lions with 14 points, that included four 3-pointers. Williams finished with eight points, while Steve added seven. Brandon Bennett added three points and six rebounds, and while he may not make the box score, Holden Wright helped secure the win by batting away the ball after the missed shot.
The Lady Lions improved to 8-3 on the season and 2-0 in conference play after allowing just three first-half field goals, while Idabel struggled with 9-of-18 shooting at the foul line. Last season Idabel swept the Lady Lions — the only team to do so in conference play.
“It’s been a while, we’ve had a rough go (at Idabel) in the past,” said Durant coach Barry Hudson. “They gave us some trouble defensively.”
Freshman Taylor Richards scored seven of Durant’s 10 points in the first quarter, but the Lady Lions trailed 11-10 after sending Idabel to the charity stripe six times.
Regan Browne opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer to spark an 11-0 run, and freshman Kaylie Baxter ended the half with a 3-pointer to give the Lady Lions a 25-16 lead. Idabel never came within less than six points in the second half.
“I thought our two freshmen came in and played really well,” said Durant coach Barry Hudson. “Kaylie came in and hit a big 3-pointer for us, and Taylor was solid throughout.”
Lauren Hughes led the Lady Lions with all five of her points in the third quarter to help Durant build a 35-21 lead. Katy O’Steen neared a double-double scoring seven of her nine points in the fourth period. O’Steen finished with a game-high nine rebounds.
Richards led Durant with 11 points, while Regan Browne finished with eight points and eight assists. Hailey Elrod added four points, with three by Cheyenne Caraway, two from Ariole Bennett one by Lyndi Barrett. Ashley Baxter had four rebounds, a steal and assist coming off the bench for the Lady Lions.
JV box scores
Idabel 30, Durant 23
D 4 6 10 3- 23
I 14 6 4 6- 30
D: Justin Kinsey 9, Nik Patel 6, Grey Morrison 4, Jimmy Tran 2, Forrest Lewis 2.
Idabel 29, Durant 24
D 5 6 6 7- 24
I 2 7 13 7- 29
Lyndi Barrett 6, Taylor Richards 5, Ariole Bennett 4, Ashley Baxter 2, Elizabeth Watkins 2, Sierra Moore 2, Savannah Riffe 2, Kaylie Baxter 1.