Phoenix Sports Writer
HASKELL – Chris Wright’s only steal of the game was the biggest.
The Haskell guard stripped Oktaha’s Chester Pittman of the ball, then zipped for the layup with 8.4 seconds left in overtime to lift the Haymakers to a 77-75 victory against the state’s No. 4-ranked Class 2A team at the Franklin Event Center on Thursday night.
“It was a big steal because he had just turned the ball before that. He didn’t get down on himself and came back and got the steal,” Haskell coach Jay Dixon said.
Dixon’s Haymakers are 8-13 with the win. Wright said he “got lucky” on the steal.
“I was trying to play the best defense I could play,” he said after also scoring 10 points. “I tried to win us the game. He’s a good ball-handler. I was trying to stay in front of him.”
For the Tigers, it was their second straight loss after falling to Henryetta on Tuesday.
“One possession doesn’t win or lose a game,” Oktaha coach Jim Glover said. “You can look at possessions throughout the game,” he said. “That seemed to stick out a little bit.”
Oktaha tied the game at 68-68 on Dustin Leach’s 3-pointer with 16.5 seconds left in regulation. Pittman stole the ball, shot a three and Devon Fry rebounded. Fry then passed it to Leach on the right side for the shot.
The Haymakers attempted to win it in regulation, but Wright missed a jumper and Wheeland couldn’t make the putback and the game went into the extra period with the game deadlocked at 68.
Alex Wheeland led the Haymakers with a game-high 25 points. All five Haskell starters scored in double figures. Six-foot-6 Michael Love had 12 points and 15 rebounds. The other starters were Wes Davis (15) and Rylee Atwell (11).
Pittman finished with 22 points while Leach had 21. Caleb Shoemake finished with 14 points in making all seven of his shot attempts, but fouled out with 5:34 in regulation.
Oktaha 66, Haskell 41
The Lady Tigers are getting in that playoff mode and that could be bad news for opposing teams.
“That’s the goal to start playing well now toward the playoffs,” Oktaha coach Chester Pittman said. “We had a good second half and a pretty good game overall.”
Leading 27-19 at the half, the Lady Tigers outscored the Lady Haymakers 39-22 en route to their ninth straight win and 22nd in 23 games this season.
Jaylie Roper scored a game-high 20 points – 10 in each half – to lead the 2A No. 7-ranked squad. Roper hit 8 of 11 shots from the field, all four of her free throw attempts and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
“I think we’re playing a lot more aggressive,” she said. “Our speed’s picking up and we’re a lot faster after we started out the season kind of slow.”
Lanessa Grayson had 17 points and Makayla Baldridge added 10 for Oktaha to beat the Lady Haymakers in in all three of their meetings this season.
Haskell hoped to have another close game with the Lady Tigers after the 48-45 loss in the Mounds Tournament championship game in late January, but the Lady Haymakers (10-10) struggled. Starters Sherrell McHenry and Denora Wheeland fouled out in the fourth quarter. McHenry has 12 points. Tashay Love added 10.
“I’ll be honest with you. We didn’t play very well in the second half,” Rick Kirkhart said. “Not to take anything away from Oktaha, but they have a decent team and just were on tonight.”