Oklahoma City —
The No. 2-ranked Latta Panthers took on the sixth-ranked Pawnee Black Bears in the opening round of the 2A State Tournament on Thursday afternoon at Abe Lemons Arena on the campus of Oklahoma City University Thursday and fans got their money’s worth. The Panthers held on late for a 54-49 victory.
Latta built a 44-34 lead to start the fourth off a three-point shot by Treston Tully, but Pawnee would not go away. At the 6:20 mark Gideon Gardner hit a basket to cut the lead to 44-36. Gardner scored again with 5:20 to play to bring Pawnee within six at 44-38.
After a Latta turnover, Gardner went coast to coast to cut the lead to 44-40 with 5:10 to go. Kade Hayes then nailed a three-pointer from the right wing to push Latta’s lead back to 47-40. After a Black Bear turnover, Derek Epperly then found Hayes under the basket for a bump off the glass and the foul.
Hayes converted the shot and the free throw to push Latta’s lead back to 10 at 50-40 with 4:19 left. Pawnee came back once again. Paydon Moore hit a three to get Pawnee back to within seven at 50-43. Nathan Brock then scored with 2:35 to play and the lead was only 50-45. Hayes was fouled and hit one of two at the 2:38 mark for a 51-45 Latta advantage. Gardner took the ball inside and cut the lead to 51-47 with 1:50 to go.
After a Latta turnover, Alex Roughface grabbed an offensive rebound and putback the shot and the lead was down to 51-49 with 34.4 seconds left. Brogan Cantrell was fouled with 22 ticks on the clock and calmly sank both free throws for a 53-49 lead.
After a Pawnee miss, Hayes was fouled and hit one of two for the final score of 54-49. The Panthers will play Thomas Friday at 6 p.m. at the State Fairgrounds Arena. With the win, Latta improves to 25-4.
The Black Bears got on the scoreboard first with a bucket by Moore off an assist from Ryland Moore at the 7:30 mark. Hayes got the Panthers going with a three point shot from the corner with 6:55 on the clock for a 3-2 Latta lead. Tully had his first bucket on an inbounds play at 6:20 for a 5-2 Panther lead. With 5:37 on the clock Hayes hit his second three from the corner to extend the lead to 8-2 and force a Pawnee timeout. Moore then scored to cut the lead to 8-4. Tully answered right back for a 10-4 advantage. Brady Johnson pushed the lead to 13-4 after draining a three from the top of the key. Alex Roughface hit a basket for the Black Bears to cut the lead to 13-6 with 3:40 on the clock. Roughface hit another basket off an assist by Gardner to get Pawnee to within five. They cut the lead to 13-11 after a traditional three point play by Gardner with 2:30 left in the period. Johnson then went coast to coast for a 15-11 Latta advantage. It was Johnson again with six seconds left nailing another three for an 18-11 Panther lead after the first.
During the second quarter, Pawnee outscored Latta 11-10. Latta did strike first during the period with a basket by Epperly for a 20-11 lead. Gardner scored on the other end and Nathan Brock hit a charity shot for a 20-14 score with 5:17 on the clock. Tully answered for Latta, but Gardner came right back for Pawnee. After a Latta turnover, Gardner scored again and the score was 22-18. Tully then hit two free throws to put Latta up 24-18. After a Gardner free throw the lead was 24-19 with 3:20 left in the period. Tully then extended the lead to 26-19 with a bucket at the 2:50 mark. Brock hit the last bucket of the half for Pawnee with 1:25 on the clock. Epperly then hit two free throws after being fouled on a putback for a 28-22 Latta lead at the half.
The teams went back and forth all through the third period as Latta held leads of seven and nine a couple of different times. The last play of the period was one of the most exciting of the game as Hayes made a behind the back pass on a fast break to Epperly for a bump off the class for a Latta lead of 41-34 heading into the final exciting fourth quarter.
Latta had a balanced scoring attack as Hayes had 14, and Tully and Johnson both contributed 13. Cantrell chipped in 8 and Epperly had 6. Pawnee was led by Gardner with 18 and both Moore and Brock chipped in 10.
Latta 54 Pawnee 49
PAWNEE 11 11 12 8—49
LATTA 18 10 13 13—54
LATTA-Kade Hayes 4-10, 3-5, 14; Treston Tully 5-9, 2-2, 13; Brady Johnson 4-9, 3-4, 13; Brogan Cantrell 3-4, 2-3, 8; Derek Epperly 2-7, 2-2, 6. Totals 18-36, 11-16, 54.
PAWNEE-Gideon Gardner 8-21, 2-4, 18; Ryland Moore 4-11, 2-2, 10; Nathan Brock 4-12, 1-2, 10; Alex Roughface 3-3, 0-0, 7; Paydon Moore 2-5, 0-0, 5. Totals 21-52, 6-10, 49.
Turnovers: Latta 17, Pawnee 10
Rebounds: Latta 26 (Tully 8, Epperly 7), Pawnee 22 (Moore 6, Roughface 6)
Assists: Latta 10, Pawnee 5
Steals: Latta 5, Pawnee 6
3-point goals: Latta 6-14 (Hayes 3-6, Tully 1-3, Johnson 2-4), Pawnee 2-10 (Brock 1-3, Moore 1-3)
Fouled Out: Moore (P)