A-B nabs two wins in West Central
WEATHERFORD – Last week’s West Central Tournament at SWOSU gave Arapaho-Butler basketball some playoff-type matchups in what amounted to a 2-4 combined record over the tourney’s six games.
Despite some tough losses, A-B did manage to add to its win total with both teams winning in their tourney openers.
The week started off right for the Lady Indians (7-14 overall), stifling a hot-shooting Corn Bible Academy team, 35-32, last Monday. The Lady Crusaders had scored 50-plus in their prior two contests, including a win over No. 10 Lookeba-Sickles. A-B’s Mariah Sperle owned the post with 19 points, five rebounds and three steals to lead the way.
A-B girls’ head coach Christy Edelen said her girls did a nice job of limiting quality shots for CBA.
“Our girls played a great defensive game,” she said. “Corn Bible had been shooting the lights out in the week before we played them. Our girls really stepped up defensively to take some of those shots away and not give them open looks. I was proud of that. We struggled to finish out the game a little bit, but it’s a ‘W’ and we took it…”
With the win, A-B earned a spot in Thursday’s semifinals against No. 3 Canute. The Lady Indians battled throughout the contest and forced overtime against the Trojanettes, but the upset fell short, 28-25. A-B’s quality effort in two games placed it in a brutal third-place matchup against No. 5 Hydro-Eakly Saturday.
Despite suffering a 36-point loss earlier in the season, A-B kept it close early before a 15-2 third quarter put the game away for the Lady Bobcats, ending the Lady Indians’ tourney with a, 47-24, defeat.
The losses were difficult, but Edelen said there were quality takeaways, competing and fighting in two of the three contests. Chaley Shepherd was a bright spot in the semis, scoring 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting from behind the arc.
The No. 12 A-B boys (15-7) went through a similar tournament to the girls. They won the opening game against Burns Flat-Dill City, 66-40, last Monday. Nick Gass and Brett Griffith scored 20-plus each and combined for 44 points overall with the defense focusing on Jace Edelen and Ryan Carlisle.
First-year A-B coach Logan Rogers said the two young stars did their job and the team played well in every facet of the game.
“We got off to a good start against Burns Flat,” he said. “They tried to take away Jace and Ryan, and Nick and Brett had some big games for us. I thought that was good to show people we’ve got more than one or two guys that can score. We executed well, made shots and defended well that game.”
In round two, the Indians faced No. 18 Hydro-Eakly Thursday. The Bobcats would avenge their early-season loss with a 44-38 win over A-B. The loss moved the Indians into the third-place game where they faced a mismatch in size against Thomas-Fay-Custer. A-B whittled the lead down to five but never could take it over, falling, 61-52, Saturday.
“In second-round matchup against Hydro, we’re pretty evenly-matched,” he said. “It was a good game, back-and-forth the whole way. I think it was even, but the difference in the game was missed free throws and a few defensive breakdowns.
“Other than that, it was a pretty even match. We faced Thomas in the third-place game, and they had a big size advantage on us. We had to focus on them early and the guards got loose and hit threes. We knew it’d be tough if their guards hit threes, because we had to guard their bigs quite a bit…”
The Indians composed a solid effort in all three games and continue to receive help from new names like Wesley Flores who scored 15 points across the tourney, including 10 against Thomas.
Starting point guard Ethan Pyron, who has missed nine games due to injury, is off crutches but is out for at least one more week. Rogers said he hopes Pyron will be cleared soon ahead of districts. Should he return, the Indians would have a much deeper bench and multiple scorers to add with their playmaking guard.