McALESTER — The McAlester Buffaloes had to wait almost a month to get their first victory of the 2012-13 boys’ basketball season.
With a huge game from senior forward Eli Boyle, the 2013-14 Buffs didn’t have to wait past Opening Night.
Boyle scored McAlester’s last 9 points as part of a 21-point performance, leading McAlester to a 41-40 comeback win against the Hugo Buffaloes on Tuesday at Bob Brumley Gymnasium in McAlester.
“One of the best games I’ve ever played,” Boyle said. “I loved it.”
Though McAlester led throughout the game, Hugo took a 37-35 lead with 2:07 left in the fourth on a 3-pointer by Nigel Smith — Hugo’s only 3-pointer of the night. McAlester missed its next shot, and on the ensuing rebound McAlester guard Todd Dawkins picked up his fifth foul and left the game.
Dawkins and Boyle had split the offensive load up until that point, with Dawkins scoring 13 and Boyle scoring 18.
“We were moving the ball really well at the end of the half, we started moving and we got more open shots,” Dawkins said.
“It’s just swinging it, really trying to move the ball quick so their defense doesn’t switch and recover.”
Dawkins’ foul put Jordan Stafford at the line, but referees flagged Hugo for its second technical foul of the game. Stafford went 1-for-2, but Boyle sank both free throws to make it 38-37 Hugo.
“Confidence wins ballgames,” Boyle said. “Right before I shoot the shot, every time, I think in my mind, ‘free throws win ballgames,’ and then I shoot.”
Shemar Brown stole McAlester’s next possession, and Arkyl Brown turned the fastbreak opportunity into two free throws to push the lead back to 3. Arkyl Brown scored 11 for Hugo, and Shemar Brown scored 10.
Shemar also gave Hugo a huge game in the paint, grabbing numerous offensive rebounds to keep possessions alive. Hugo didn’t always convert those extra shots into points, but that physicality seemed to wear down McAlester’s defenders late in the game.