It was a steely matchup, with neither team willing to give in.

Savanna and Crowder duked it out in the final opening round game of the Pitt 8 Tournament on Tuesday at Savanna, with the Demons strong-arming to the 44-35 win.

The Bulldogs broke the ice first with a buckets from Chants Leflore, Anthony Reagan, and Ty Hoffman to give Savanna the early lead. But the Demons responded with seising shots from Royce Florenzano and Sevryn Mills to make it a 7-5 Bulldog lead heading into the second quarter.

In the next period, the two teams traded buckets to jump-start their offenses. They spent the majority of the quarter trading the lead and preventing large scoring runs with iron-clad defenses.

It wasn’t until the final minutes of the half that the Demons started to make a run. After a free throw from Michael Lizik tied the game, he followed it up with a bucket as Crowder added a triple from Mills to lead 18-13 at the half.

In the third quarter, Savanna’s Braxton Leflore fought through traffic to cut the lead down to three points. But the Demons hit right back, with a Mills triple and a bucket from JW Ragan gave Crowder the eight-point lead midway through the period.

The Bulldogs turned up the dial on the offensive end, with Braxton Leflore being fouled on a made shot and sinking the follow up free throw to cut into the deficit. Crowder responded with a triple from Cooper Allison as the two teams continued to duke it out.

Down 11 heading into the final quarter, Ayden Fry pick-pocketed his opponent and drove the length of the floor for the score. Tracyen Eldridge next added a score on a fast break, trimming the Crowder lead down to seven.

The Bulldogs kept chipping away at the deficit, forcing a time-out with just more than four minutes remaining in the game.

But on the other side, the Demons swung some momentum back their way as Allison drained a triple. Fry responded for the Bulldogs with back-to-back triples, keeping Savanna within six points.

As the Demons attacked the basket, Mills would be fouled and sent to the foul line with just more than a minute remaining. He sank the front end, creating a cushion for the Crowder lead.

The Bulldogs would be forced to foul in the game’s remaining minute to stop the clock, but the Demons would get a couple swishing attempts from Mills to hold on for the win.

Mills led the way for the Demons with 23 points, Lizik with 11 points, and Allison with eight points.

Fry led the Bulldogs with eight points, followed by Eldridge and Braxton Leflore with seven points each, and Hoffman with six points.

Next up for Crowder, it’ll face off against Pittsburg in the Thursday semifinals at Canadian, with tipoff set for 8 p.m.

Meanwhile, Savanna will next battle Canadian in the consolation bracket at Savanna on Friday, with tipoff set for 8 p.m.

STUART 85, HAILEYVILLE 38

The Hornets caught fire early, and didn't look back.

Stuart battled against Haileyville in the opening round of the Pitt 8 Conference Tournament on Tuesday, with the Hornets securing the 85-38 win.

Connor Clayton broke the ice for the Hornets, earning the game’s first three points. That was followed by a bucket from Drevon Colbert to give the Hornets an opening lead.

But the Warriors had an answer, and a triple from Delton Cloud later tied the game at 5-5. This set off a back-and-forth for much of the quarter, until the Hornets used a 7-0 scoring run to take a 19-9 lead at the end of the quarter.

In the second quarter, Clayton starting things off once again, later followed by points from Colbert and Kobe Wilson. The Warriors would break the scoring run with a bucket from Ryder Soliday, leading to a 42-13 Stuart lead at the half.

But in the second half, the Hornets bursted out of the locker room on offense. Although the two teams battled, Stuart kept its foot on the accelerator to power to the win.

Clayton led the way for the Hornets with 25 points, followed by Colbert with 16 points, and Collin McMahan with 11 points.

Soliday led the Warriors with 10 points, followed by Brian Hauck with seven points, and Cloud with six points.

Stuart was originally scheduled to take on Indianola in the semifinals on Thursday at Canadian, but have now automatically advanced to the finals.

Meanwhile, Haileyville will face Kiowa in the consolation bracket on Friday at Savanna, with tipoff set for 5:20 p.m.

INDIANOLA 59, KIOWA 31

The Warriors hit the gas immediately out of the gate.

Indianola and Kiowa opened up the second day of the Pitt 8 Conference Tournament on Tuesday at Savanna, with the Warriors exploding on offense for the 59-31 win.

Although the Cowboys struck first, the Warriors punched right back as Ben Santine rattled off four quick points to jump into the lead.

Kiowa’s Cooper McClendon sank a triple of his own, but Terran Pitts went on a solo scoring run. He scored eight straight points to fuel a 16-1 run to end the quarter — leading to a 20-6 Warrior lead.

In the second quarter, Twine Palmer hit back-to-back shots for the Cowboys to cut into the deficit. But Indianola’s Josh O’Dell responded with back-to-back threes to continue the Warriors’ offensive momentum.

The pair of teams battled throughout the remainder of the half, and a shot off the glass at the buzzer by O’Dell put the Warriors up 34-16 at the half.

In the second half, Chance Lott and Pitts each drilled arcing threes to extend the Indianola lead. Palmer and Jaxon Wills had an answer, each making a bucket to keep pace.

The back and forth continued for much of the remainder of the game, but the Warriors rode the wave of momentum they had built to the win.

Lott, Pitts, and Santine led the way for Indianola with 14 points each, followed by O'Dell with 13 points.

Palmer led the Cowboys with 18 points, followed by Wills and Judd McAlester with four points each.

Following the conclusion of the game, the Warriors learned of a positive COVID-19 test that resulted in their withdrawal from the tournament.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys will battle the loser between Haileyville in the consolation bracket on Friday in Savanna, with tipoff set for 5:20 p.m.

Contact Derek Hatridge at dhatridge@mcalesternews.com.

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