CATOOSA — Both the McAlester Buffaloes and the Durant Lions play man-to-man defense. Both use speedy point guards to kickstart their offenses, and both compliment their point guard with three outside shooters and a tall center.
The two teams tried to do the same things Friday, but the Lions just did it better.
Skye Lowe and Zac Cater combined for 30 points, leading the Lions past the Buffs in Friday’s area consolation semifinal in Catoosa, 72-63.
“We’re at our best in a halfcourt setting, and they’re at their best in a fullcourt setting,” Lions coach Jason Wilkerson said. “It’s always our goal to dictate the pace of the game.”
Durant started Friday’s game much stronger than McAlester, the Lions outscoring the Buffs 13-2 in the opening five minutes of the game and leading 21-5 after the first quarter. James Donelan got Durant on the board with a jump shot, but Buffs senior Eli Boyle tied it with a layup.
Boyle’s basket came with 6:25 left in the first quarter, and McAlester wouldn’t score again until Boyle drained a layup, drew a foul and sank the free throw to make it 13-5 Durant with 2:21 left. In between those Buffs baskets, Cater, Skye Lowe and Tyler Stovall would combine to score 11 unanswered points.
“We just came out to play relaxed against a team that we’re used to playing,” Wilkerson said. “It’s a rival — you don’t have to talk them up much for that game. We just got off to a good start, and it really made a difference.”
Lowe’s jump shot put Durant up 4-2, and the Lions led the rest of the game. McAlester tried to fight their way back into the game in the second, with Keaton Slater scoring off an offensive rebound, Todd Dawkins hitting two free throws and Blakely Williams knocking down a 3-pointer.