By Kenton Brooks
Phoenix Sports Writer
OKTAHA – Christian McIntosh did more than give Oktaha a spark at the end of the third quarter against Canadian on Tuesday night. The 6-foot-3 senior forward helped the Tigers snap out of their recent doldrums.
His offensive rebound and putback with 20.6 seconds left in the period gave the Tigers their first lead of the game at 30-28 en route to the 47-38 victory, snapping their two-game losing streak.
McIntosh said his team needed something after being “flat” for almost three quarters.
“I don’t know if it was because it was Senior Night, but we were out of balance,” he said. “We weren’t playing our game. We then started playing defense and getting the ball inside.”
McIntosh finished with 11 rebounds and nine points for the Tigers. Coach Jim Glover said his team didn’t use the most of its opportunities inside.
“We talked about it at halftime – we have an advantage inside and let’s use it,” he said. “When the inside goes to work, that opens up the outside. I told the team that Canadian whipped our tails on the boards in the first half and we had to go back and get control of the boards. Christian took it upon himself to get everyone he could get. When he did, that sparked us to get some more boards.”
The Tigers, now 20-4 and ranked No. 5 in the Okrankings.com Class 2A poll this week, outscored the Cougars (16-7) 17-10 in the final period to pull away for the victory.
Blake Pittman and Dustin Leach sank two 3-pointers each in the game and finished with 12 and 11 points, respectively, to lead the Tigers’ scoring. Caleb Shoemake, a 6-3 senior, also had nine points along with McIntosh.
The Tigers’ defense clamped down in the second half as Chase Shearwood finished with 16, 10 of which came in the first half.
It was a forgettable first half for the Tigers, who only had 11 points and trailed by eight as the teams went to the locker room.
Oktaha battled back to tie the game at 28-28 on Leach’s 3-pointer with 1:49 left in the third period. McIntosh then got his offensive rebound and the Tigers pushed their way to the win.
Both Oktaha’s teams play in 2A districts on Saturday against the Gore-Quinton winner.
Oktaha 69, Canadian 41
The No. 8 Lady Tigers (23-1) go into postseason with plenty of momentum. They outscored the undermanned Lady Cougars 23-7 in the third quarter in taking the victory.
“Our plan was to just go out and play,” freshman Shea Lynch said. “After this game, you start all over (with the playoffs.) I think we’re ready. All of us have to work hard. We’ve got to keep working. We can’t back down now. There’s no turning back.”
Lynch was one of three Lady Tigers to score in double figures. The others were Lanessa Grayson (13) and Makayla Baldridge (12).
Oktaha coach Chester Pittman said his team is ready for postseason.
“It was our main goal not to be flat,” he said. “We wanted to come out and try to get ready for the climb for the playoffs. I think we did a pretty good job of that.”