LATTA — Thirteen was a very unlucky number for the Latta Panthers Tuesday night in their rivalry showdown with Roff.

The Tigers, ranked No. 3 in Class A coming into the final game of the most successful regular season in school history, held Latta stars Kolbie Brown and Isaac Vandever to a combined 13 points on 13 shots, and, in the end, won by 13 — 45-32 — to complete a rare season sweep of the Panthers before a standing-room-only crowd at the Bill Johnson Fieldhouse.

With the victory, Roff improved to 22-1 heading into the district round of the playoffs this weekend, while Latta lost for the fifth time in nine games since Christmas to fall to 13-8.

“This was a good win for us going into the playoffs,” first-year Roff coach Darrick Farriell said.

In the girls’ contest, senior Chelsey Bennett and freshman Skyler Jenson scored 22 points apiece, and Latta rode a dominant second-half defensive effort to a 59-45 victory to improve to 14-7 on the season.


Roff 45, Latta 32

Roff’s three senior starters — Dearth Parker, C. J. Stewart and Jason Trimmer — combined for all of the Tigers’ points, and they led a defense that forced a season-high 23 Latta turnovers and frustrated Brown and Vandever all night.

Parker had 20 points and a team-high five rebounds and joined with Trimmer (nine points, four assists, two steals and two rebounds) and Glenn Cornell to frustrate the usually potent Latta backcourt. Stewart, meanwhile, turned in perhaps the best all-around game of his high school career.

One of the state’s smallest (6-1) but smartest post players, Stewart scored 16 points (including 4-of-6 from 3-point range) and, as part of Roff’s last line of defense with 5-11 Atlee Kile, he was most responsible for making the Latta front line — the 6-5 Vandever and 6-6 Jeremi Correll — a non-factor for most of the night.

“I just tried to keep him from getting the ball,” Stewart said of Vandever, who was coming off two of his best games of the season in wins over Lone Grove and Konawa. “I knew if he got the ball, he was going to score.”

Vandever managed just one shot (a 3-point attempt in the first quarter) in the first three periods and finished 1-for-4 on the night and scored his only field goal midway through the fourth quarter, while Brown — who finished 4-of-9 and scored 10 points before fouling out with 1:56 to play — and his backcourt mates were hounded by the Roff guards into uncharacteristic mistakes.

“(Brown and Vandever) were the focus of our defense,” Farriell said. “Vandever is one of the best post players in our area, and C. J. did a great job on him.

“I’ve never had a post defender that I’ve had more confidence in than C. J.,” Farriell added. “He’s not the biggest I’ve had, but he’s the best.”

Stewart scored eight first-quarter points, and he and Parker provided all of Roff’s offense in a first half that ended with the Tigers leading just 19-17. Brown and Correll (who had seven points in the game’s first five minutes) teamed to score 16 of Latta’s 17 first-half points, but Correll didn’t take a shot in the final two periods after scoring nine points before intermission.

Parker’s three-point play with 1:26 left in the second quarter gave Roff its halftime lead, and his steal and layup 30 seconds into the third period ignited a pivotal 15-6 run in the first 6:40 of the second half that put the Tigers in charge for good.

Stewart drained a pair of 3-pointers during the Roff spurt — the first after an offensive rebound by Trimmer and an assist from Parker and the other (with 2:05 left in the quarter) off a nice assist from Cornell — and added a pair of assists of his own — the second after he rebounded a missed 3-pointer by Latta point guard Dalton Brown and fed Parker for a fast-break layup to make it 34-23 with 1:40 remaining in the period.

A steal and layup by Dakota Roebuck a minute after Parker’s bucket and a 3-pointer by Derek Cupps 25 seconds into the fourth quarter trimmed the lead to six, but the Roff defense took over, holding the Panthers to just two field goals — layups by Vandever and Roebuck — the rest of the way and forcing six turnovers in the final six minutes.

“The bottom line is we had 23 turnovers in 46 possessions,” Latta coach Donnie Husband said. “You can’t beat anybody like that, and you sure can’t beat a good team.

“C. J. did a good job, but I don’t think you can say it was just one guy,” he added. “Their team defense is so good. They put so much pressure on the ball that we didn’t have a chance to get the ball inside.”


Latta 59, Roff 45

Jenson and Bennett have been one of the area’s most dangerous scoring tandems since November, but their 44-point outburst Tuesday represented their highest total for any game this season. The pair has now combined to score in double figures 36 times (18 apiece) in the Lady Panthers’ first 22 games.

Bennett was 7-for-15 from the field and added four rebounds, two steals and a game-high five assists, and Jenson (who didn’t take a shot in the first quarter) was a sparkling 9-for-12 shooting to lead an efficient Latta offense that finished 22-for-43 from the field and committed just 10 turnovers.

As good as the numbers were for Bennett and Jenson, the Lady Panthers won the game with a second-half defensive effort that limited the scrappy Lady Tigers to just three field goals in 17 attempts in the final two periods after Latta led just 30-28 at intermission.

“We’ve been playing better defensively the last few games,” first-year Latta coach David Tinkler said after seeing his club win for the sixth time in nine post-holiday contests. “But you’ve got to give Roff a lot of credit. (First-year coach) Scott (Morgan) had a great game plan, and his kids played hard.”

The Lady Tigers trailed just 36-34 after a driving layup by McKenzie Phillips with three minutes left in the third quarter, but Tinkler’s defense held Roff to one field goal — a layup by Kayla Balthrop with 20 seconds remaining — the rest of the way.

Jenson, meanwhile, scored 12 of her 22 points in the second half, and Bennett — who teamed with Jenson for 20 of Latta’s 30 points before intermission — combined with another senior, Beth Nevland, to go 7-for-9 from the free throw line down the stretch.

Other than Jenson and Bennett, no other Latta player scored more than five points, but Tinkler got contributions from every player who saw any significant action in the game.

Casey Morgan scored all five of her points during a 6-0 Latta run late in the second quarter that offset a 3-pointer by Jessica Bacon and an off-balance 10-footer by Balthrop in the final 28 seconds of the half; Nevland scored all four of her points in the fourth quarter and added three assists and two steals; senior Charissa Smith came off the bench to score four first-quarter points and pulled down four rebounds; point guard Tosha MacCollister did a good job of running the offense and had a layup and an assist at the end of a key 7-0 Latta run early in the fourth quarter; and Keisha Williams came off the bench to pull down a team-high five rebounds (all in the third quarter) and added two assists.

Bacon was 3-of-4 from beyond the arc and led Roff with 15 points and a game-high eight rebounds, and Balthrop added 10 points, two steals and an assist. Phillips continued her solid play since Christmas with nine points and five rebounds, and Tess Truett had seven points, four rebounds, two steals and two assists for the Lady Tigers.

Latta will visit Sulphur Saturday and Washington Tuesday to close out the regular season, while the two Roff clubs both drew first-round byes and will play at 6:30 (girls) and 8 p.m. Saturday for their respective district titles against opponents to be determined in games Friday.

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