KIOWA—The Panthers punched their ticket.

Crowder and Pittsburg battled it out for the final spot in the Pitt 8 Tournament championship on Friday, with the Panthers taking the 68-47 win and securing their spot in the championship game.

Defense led the way for both teams to start the ballgame, but both teams began to find an offensive rhythm after the first few opening minutes.

Leading 15-8 after the first quarter, Pittsburg adjusted its offensive strategy, and Cole Allen and Carter Cross responded by scoring 11 points each in the opening half to take a 36-15 lead at the half.

But in the second half, with the Demons having made adjustments of their own, James Long hit back-to-back triples to cut into the lead. That was followed by Avery Williams, who was fouled on a shot and completed the old-fashioned three-point play to trim the deficit even further.

Matthew Rice nabbed a bucket to respond for the Panthers, and followed it with a block on the defensive end. That sequence led to another Allen three, swinging some of the momentum back to Pittsburg.

Leading 55-32 heading into the final period, Allen drove through the opposing defense to lay in a shot and keep things going for the Panthers offense. But a steal-and-score by Mike Lizik and a drive by Williams added to the Demons’ score.

However, the damage had been done, and the Panthers powered their way to the win.

Allen led the way for the Panthers with 21 points, followed by Rice with 19, and Cross with 13.

Sevryn Mills led the way for the Demons with 12 points, followed Long with eight points, Royce Florenzano and Williams with seven points each, and Meaux with six points.

Stuart 75, Savanna 42

The Hornets are in.

Stuart and Savanna faced off in a Friday night battle for a spot in the Pitt 8 Tournament championship game, with Stuart using an offensive hot streak to take the win 75-42.

Both teams came out prepared to fight for the coveted finals spot, with the Hornets jumping out to a 15-8 lead after the first quarter.

In the following quarter, Stuart hit an offensive hot streak. Behind 16 first-half points from Connor Clayton, the Hornets found themselves leading 42-14 at the half.

In the second half, Ayden Fry hit a triple for the Bulldogs to get the offense going in the second half. They followed that up with a bucket by Cayden McElhaney, followed by a steal that would lead to free throws by Tucker McBane, who sank both to keep momentum rolling for the Bulldogs.

Clayton answered that with a triple from the left side for Stuart, but Savanna responded with another bucket from McBane to continue to cut into the Hornet lead.

But Clayton teamed up with shots from the likes of Jared McIntosh and Travis Grinnell to help push the Hornets to the 61-27 lead after three quarters, and would use the wave of momentum to put themselves back into the conference title game.

Clayton led the way for the Hornets with 25 points, followed by Kobe Wilson with 11 points, Grinnell with 10 points, and Gabe Clayton with eight points.

Tyler Phillips led the Bulldogs with nine points, followed by McElhaney with eight points, Fry and Ty Hoffman with six points each, and McBane with four points.

BOYS

TUESDAY

At Pittsburg

B1: Pittsburg 56, Canadian 30

B2: Savanna 49, Indianola 30

At Kiowa

B3: Stuart 73, Haileyville 43

B4: Crowder 62, Kiowa 41

FRIDAY

At Pittsburg

B5: Indianola 81, Haileyville 52

B6: Canadian 54, Kiowa 36

At Kiowa

B7: Stuart 75, Savanna 42

B8: Pittsburg 68, Crowder 47

SATURDAY

At Pittsburg

B9: Indianola vs. Canadian, 12 p.m. (Consolation Final)

At Kiowa

B10: Savanna vs. Crowder, 4 p.m. (Third Place)

B11: Stuart vs. Pittsburg, 8 p.m. (Championship Final)

Contact Derek Hatridge at dhatridge@mcalesternews.com.

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