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January 26, 2014

Final observations from the Pitt 8

(Continued)

McALESTER —

Hats off to Haileyville coach Jody Hull. Just in his second year running Haileyville basketball, Hull has already transformed the program into a source of celebration for the Haileyville community.

Conference too close to call:

Of the 16 teams to play last week, four performed as expected. The top-seeded Cowgirls won the championship, the bottom-seeded Indianola teams both went 0-2, and the seventh-seeded Pittsburg Panthers also went 0-2.

Everything else, simply put, was chaos. In the girls’ tournament you had the four-seed (Stuart) beating the three-seed (Savanna) in the third-place game, and the seventh-seed (Haileyville) beating the sixth-seed (Crowder) in the consolation semifinals.

Kiowa played second-seed Pittsburg in the finals, but both those teams barely got past the semifinals, and the championship was a one-possession game at halftime.

On the boys’ side, you had two first-round upsets: Six-seed Haileyville beating three-seed Canadian; and five-seed Crowder beating four-seed Savanna. The consolation final pitted Savanna against Canadian, a matchup that, according to seeding, would normally decide third place.

The third-place game, as it turns out, was between second-seed Kiowa and fifth-seed Crowder. Kiowa won, but not before falling to six-seed Haileyville in the semifinals.

And all of this leads up to the championship game in which the sixth seed beat Stuart, the four-time defending champion and a team that had won its first two tournament games by a combined 85 points.

So what does all this mean? Perhaps it means all of the Pitt 8 teams are fairly evenly matched, and that any team — even the winless Indianola Warriorettes — could beat any other given the right combination of factors. Or perhaps it means no team scares any other, that names like “Kiowa” and “Stuart” printed across the jersey can no longer intimidate the other Pitt 8 teams into submission.

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