Durant Lions basketball is back in the win column for the first time since 2010 after an overtime battle with Atoka to open the new season.
Cole Hughes demolished the Wampus Cat defense for 26 points, while Lion newcomer James Donelan swatted 10 blocked shots. The undefeated (1-0) Lions took a 47-45 win in overtime.
“I think it came down to determination,” said Durant Coach Jason Wilkerson. “They never gave up. I got pretty choked up.”
With only two freshmen on the roster, most of the 2012 Lions endured last year’s win-less season. So Tuesday’s feat was an accomplishment worth celebrating – and in dramatic style with the extra period of play.
The Durant student section was a self-described “buck-wild” bunch which yelled encouragement throughout the second half and stormed the court after Blake Wilson’s offensive rebound sealed the victory.
“When the game comes down to two offensive boards, that’s the difference,” Wilkerson said. “Having James (Donelan) in there to get those blocks was huge, that’s a 20-point swing. But we still have a lot of work to do. We need to make smarter decisions. We’ll try to improve on what we didn’t do well.”
Hughes was the offensive go-to player all night, scoring nine points in the first quarter as Durant led 11-9. He scored nine more in the second, including a buzzer-beating three to end the first half which gave the Lions a 27-24 lead.
Durant took a 39-32 lead into the final quarter before early turnovers fueled an 8-0 Atoka run as the Wampus Cats took their first lead of the game. A sidestep layup from Donelan, who finished with four points, gave the Lions a 41-40 lead.
Atoka then threw a block party of their own, denying three straight shots before Hughes found the back door for a layup to put the Lions up 43-30 with 2:30 to go. An Atoka three-pointer then tied the game.
The Lions took the air out of the ball for the final two minutes, as the teams traded turnovers in the final 10 seconds to force overtime.
Durant found heroes in Wilson, Cameron Scheussler and Zac Cater in the extra set. Scheussler struck first, giving Durant a 45-43 lead before grabbing a steal on the other end.
Atoka tied the game and Durant committed another inbound turnover but held the Wampus Cats scoreless. Cater hit a falling put-back with just 20 seconds left and a steal at the other end put Wilson at the line with 3.5 seconds to go and a 47-45 lead.
He missed the one-and-one, grabbed his own miss and passed the ball to a teammate to run down the clock.
Scheussler finished with six points, Cater had four, Jalen Harris scored three, Wilson had two and Will Engle contributed a bucket. Durant’s next game is Friday in Duncan.