McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local Sports

January 25, 2011

Diggers, Miners battle for Gowen Mountain

McALESTER — In a classic battle of size verses speed, the slightly larger Wilburton Diggers traveled over Gowen Mountain Friday to take on the smaller and quicker Hartshorne Miners.

The faster team from Hartshorne jumped out to an early 7-0 lead to start the first quarter but the Diggers pounded the ball inside to cut the lead to only two as the first quarter ended with a score of 7-5.

Hartshorne pulled back ahead to finish the first half up 21 to 15.

As the teams evenly traded baskets and ended the third quarter with a score of 29-24, it looked like Hartshorne might put a stop to their 14 game losing streak.

With only five minutes left in the game, Wilburton began an aggressive full court press but despite some turnovers, the Miners were able to maintain a dwindling lead by being near perfect at the free throw line. Brett Akins, from Hartshorne, practically made his living at the free throw line by making 13 of 16 for the night.

A 3-pointer late in the game by Wilburton’s Angel Quiñones followed by an old fashioned 3-point-play from post player Kendrick Wynn helped the Diggers close to within one. The crowd, which was largely silent for most of the game, began to make a lot of noise and became a factor in the game at that point.

 Just a few plays later, after a couple of made free throws and a quick steal and basket, the team from Wilburton took their very first lead of the game with only 2:52 left to play.

Two missed free throws as the game was winding down allowed the Hartshorne team to stay within three points. Akins makes the Diggers pay for those missed shots by hitting a 3-pointer to tie the game at 41 and send it into the first overtime.

The first overtime, played before a deafening crowd, saw both teams snatch the lead back and forth but ended in another stalemate with both teams having 47 points on the board.

Wilburton jumped out with a quick four point lead to begin the second overtime, but Hartshorne came storming back to retake the lead by one. The lead see-sawed back and forth for the entire second overtime with Wilburton hitting some crucial free throws to be up by two with only 4.8 seconds left. The Miners, with the weight of their long losing streak, couldn’t quite come out on top despite a pretty decent look at the basket from about 20 feet away with two seconds left on the clock.

The shot bounced out of the basket and fell to the floor along with the hopes for a Miner victory.

The Diggers finally traveled back over Gowen Mountain with a 55-53 win.

The game’s leading scorers from Wilburton were Jeremy Shaffer with 20 and Quiñones with 16 while Hartshorne’s top scorers were Akins with 26 and Ruben Kauley with 10.

In the early game of the evening, the Lady Diggers didn’t have quite as much trouble putting away the girls from Hartshorne.

The Wilburton girls’ team jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead and while Hartshorne was very competitive and cut into the lead several times throughout the evening, they never regained it.

Foul trouble for Wilburton’s two post players early in the third quarter opened up the door for Hartshorne to cut into the lead some, but a flurry of 3-pointers by the Lady Diggers helped them fight off the attack to end the quarter with a score of 35-20.

A full-court press by the Lady Miners helped them cut the lead to single digits late in the fourth quarter, but the Lady Diggers were able to regroup and score a couple of lay-ups to break the press. They also made some free throws to finished the game with a 49-39 victory.

Leading scorers in the girls game included Wilburton’s Kelsie Smith with 12 followed by Sam Vanderburg with nine. Kayla John from Hartshorne led all scorers with 18 followed by Kourtney Karney with eight.

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