The Thanksgiving Scrimmage has been a part of McAlester’s basketball calendar since 1962.
The Buffaloes wrapped the Scrimmage’s latest iteration in style, their varsity outscoring varsity squads from Latta, Wilburton and Pryor on Saturday at Bob Brumley Gymnasium in McAlester.
Nine schools participated in the scrimmage, each getting three games broken into two 20-minute halves. Scores would reset after each half ended.
“There are a lot of good things we get out of it,” Buffs coach Chris Zike said.
“Every team gets three games when they come here, and it’s very competitive. All three games are going to be good games. We try to take care of these teams so they can maybe come back each and every year.”
The nine schools were McAlester, Latta, Wilburton, Quinton, Byng, Pryor, Okema, Haworth and Idabel. Zike said he played his varsity in the first half of McAlester’s three games, then sent in his younger players for the second half.
Zike said McAlester won all three varsity halves, beating a Latta team that won a Class 2A state championship last season. The Buffs also posted a 33-22 first-half win against Pryor, a Class 5A school McAlester could see at tournaments or in the playoffs this year.
“Just trying to get our name out there a little bit,” Zike said. “Make it so these other 5A coaches will give us a little respect.”
McAlester took control of its varsity half against Pryor early. A dunk from Todd Dawkins pushed the Buffs’ lead to 30-17 with about five minutes left in the half.
McAlester’s JV and freshmen hung with Pryor through the opening minutes of the second half, going up 4-2 on Jett Wood’s layup off an inbounds pass. But Pryor sandwiched two 3-pointers around a steal and layup in transition to go up 10-4, and the Tigers led the rest of the way.
“We saw a lot of different things — some zone (defense), some man,” Zike said. “When we compete and play hard, we look really good. ... Overall, yes, I thought there were some very bright spots.”
Basketball season starts today at Hugo. McAlester plays its home-opener Friday against Poteau.
Zike said, “I know there are going to be instances where we take steps back this year. But right now, we have a good feeling about it.”
The Lady Buffaloes’ Thanksgiving Scrimmage took place Nov. 25. They played Talihina, Hartshorne, Quinton and Atoka at the Al J. Horton Special Event Center in McAlester.
The girls’ scrimmage also drew in teams from Poteau, Caddo, Savanna, Kinston, Central Sallisaw and Hartshorne.
Contact Matt Goisman at email@example.com.