By Matt Goisman
HARTSHORNE — With the majority of their basketball squad having just finished football season, the Hartshorne Miners looked a little raw in Wednesday’s game.
But with athletes like Trey Medicine Bear running the floor, even an unpolished Miners had more than enough speed and strength to overpower the Oktaha Tigers.
Medicine Bear scored 24 points, leading the Miners to a 68-49 win against the Tigers in the consolation semifinals of the Hartshorne Pick & Shovel Classic at Taylor Gymnasium.
Hartshorne faces Wilburton in the consolation finals today at 7 p.m.
“We figured out a way to win right there,” Miners coach Jeff Beare said. “We had a lead, we didn’t lose the lead and we took care of the basketball.
“Basketball in-shapeness, compared to football, is different. But going as far as we did in the playoffs, we stayed in shape anyway.”
Medicine Bear played a key role in a first quarter in which the Miners outscored the Tigers 23-4, a deficit from which the Tigers never recovered. Back-to-back layups by Medicine Bear made it 11-2 Miners, then Troy Ray put back an offensive rebound and Tyler Lindley turned a steal into a fastbreak basket to make it 15-2.
Dru Barrier sank a layup, drew a foul and drained the free throw to make it 18-2, and after Ashton Ayers hit a jump-shot for Oktaha, Medicine Bear stole a pass and beat everyone down the floor for a layup and a 20-4 lead. Ledgen Angeli finished the quarter by draining a 3-pointer for Hartshorne with 1.5 seconds left.
Medicine Bear also scored the first six points of the second quarter, putting back two offensive rebounds and scoring a layup to make it 29-4 Miners.
“It just comes natural,” Medicine Bear, a 5-foot-11 and 230-pound freshman, said.
“If I see a ball, I just go for it.”
The Tigers simply had no answer for Medicine Bear, who proved unmovable in the paint, uncatchable on the court and inescapable as a defender. Had Dustin Leach not scored 23 points — none of which came in the first quarter — for the Tigers, they might’ve been completely overrun.
“We’re really, really young witht the exception of him, so we just have a learning curve,” Tigers coach Jim Glover said of Leach.
“They weren’t in the semifinals of football because they didn’t have athletes, and we knew it.They were just quicker to every loose ball, quicker to everything all over the floor.”
Hartshorne also got solid play from guards Isaiah Osife and Brett Akins, who ran the Miners offense and set up many of Medicine Bear’s scoring opportunities. As two non-football players on the team, Osife and Akins have spent far more hours in the gym this year, and they helped keep the Miners from playing so fast that they lost control.
Osife scored 14 for Hartshorne, Akins scored 9 and also dished seven assists. Osife started the fourth with a pass to Lindley for a layup and later stole a pass and laid it in to make it 62-38 Miners.
“I know I’m faster than them, and I’m going to take that as an advantage,” Osife said.
“We wanted to just keep on running. Our shots maybe won’t go down, but we just want to run.”
Oktaha got 11 points from Leach in the fourth, but the Tigers never trailed the Miners by fewer than 17 points in the quarter.
Last year’s Miners went 8-17 and lost in the consolation semifinals of their regional tournament. Hartshorne dropped from Class 3A to 2A this season, but with less practice time than all but a few 2A schools, the Miners will need a few weeks to get into basketball shape.
Beare said his first goal is to improve the team’s shooting.
“We scored a lot just getting it into the paint, but we hang our hat on the 3 line, and we haven’t knocked very many down,” Beare said.
“It’s a carryover of what we did in football. We started the year in football knowing we were going to be pretty good. Starting the year, didn’t expect to be where we were at, but as the season went on, we expected to be there, and I think that’s how we’re going to find ourselves in basketball.”
With the win, Hartshorne improved to 2-1. Oktaha fell to 1-3.
Contact Matt Goisman at email@example.com.