McALESTER — The McAlester Junior High Basketball Tournament began Monday, with games taking place at Parker Intermediate Center, Puterbaugh Middle School and Bob Brumley Gymnasium. Boys’ and girls’ basketball teams from five schools including McAlester competed Monday and Tuesday.
McAlester’s teams went 7-9 overall through the first two days, but McAlester Gold went 2-0 in the eighth-grade boys division and faces Durant in the championship tonight at 8 p.m. at Brumley.
McAlester Gold 40, Henryetta 23
The Jr. Buffs looked almost too athletic in their first quarter against the Henryetta Knights. A McAlester defender would intercept a pass, beat everyone down the court for a fast-break opportunity, but then rush the actual shot and come away with no points.
Once the Jr. Buffs settled in, however, the Knights had no chance.
McAlester almost quadrupled Henryetta’s scoring the second and third quarter, with six different Jr. Buffs scoring to help beat the Knights, 40-23 on Tuesday at Bob Brumley Gymnasium
“We have a lot of great athletes on our team,” Jr. Buffs coach John Spiegel said.
“We have really a lot of great players, and they want to play, and they want to be better, and they want to be the best they could be. And so they come out, and they just basically over-exerted themselves. And then we just had to slow down and set things in play.”
Though down 8-4 early in the second, McAlester began its comeback with a free throw from Jett Wood. After Henryetta missed its next shot, Wood sprinted down the court on the fast-break and found Deron Mack for a layup to cut the deficit to 1.
On Henryetta’s next possession, Wood came up with a steal and turned it into a layup for a 9-8 lead.
The Jr. Buffs never trailed again.
“We started coming together,” Spiegel said. “We have a great, great team this year, and I still think they’re learning how each other players, their positions on the court. I think once they really find out what their place is on the team, and they really find out what our offense is centered around, I think we’ll come out.”