The Buffs refused to quit in the face of adversity.
McAlester fought hard against Ft. Gibson, but fell to the Tigers 72-56 on Friday night in Bob Brumley Gymnasium.
Ft. Gibson won the tip, but Adante Holiman quickly tied up the ball. The Tigers hit a three to start scoring for both teams, but the Buffs’ Trey Briggs answered with a powerful shot under the goal.
The two teams began a defensive stand before the Tigers started to make a run. Erik McCarty was able to drive and force a foul, and make the front end from the charity stripe.
The Tigers began a scoring barrage to start the second quarter, but the Buffs continued to drive and force their way to the free throw line. Caleb Williams was able to lay up a shot for McAlester, and added a free throw to make it a 36-15 Ft. Gibson lead at the half.
In the second half of play, McAlester returned to the floor with a new offensive intensity. Eythan Leonardo stole the ball and fed Holiman on the fast break. Holiman followed that up with a coast-to-coast basket before the Tigers finally answered with a jump shot.
The Buffs paid no mind to the score and Holiman returned with a triple from deep to cut into the deficit. The Tigers would go on a large scoring run and take a 60-22 lead after three quarters.
McAlester was determined and stuck to its game plan. After a McCarty euro-step layup, Williams added a rolling score around the rim.
The Buffs continued to chew through the Tiger lead, but a hard collision under the basket between Holiman and Ft. Gibson’s Cameron Dornan caused a stoppage in play. Both players would be assisted off the floor to be treated for medical injuries.
Lewis Woodmore finished the foul shot in place of Holiman, pointing skyward after the swish. McCarty added to the score with a contested drive and lay in.
McAlester never stopped fighting, pushing until the final whistle. But the Tigers would outlast the late-game surge to take away the win.
Holiman finished the night with 23 points, followed by McCarty and Williams with 9 points each.