By Ryan Costello, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
DRUMMOND, Okla. —
One fourth-quarter possession told the story of Friday’s duel between Class A top 10s.
With Pond Creek-Hunter’s boys already up 10, the Panthers weaved and swung the ball around the perimeter for more than a minute, at times retreating near the half-court line before Kade Tracy finally hit a cutting Zach Rayner, who scored through a Logan Jantz foul and hit a free throw to complete a three-point play.
The clock was dying, the lead was growing, and the Panthers had their fourth-quarter blueprint.
Class A No. 10 PC-Hunter took an early lead after a hot-shooting first quarter and held it throughout, scoring the ball well early and holding onto it even better late to hand sixth-ranked host Drummond its largest loss of the season, 46-26“That was one of the biggest parts of our game plan,” said Rayner, who finished with game highs of 17 points and eight rebounds. “We wanted to open up that 2-3 (zone), and the way to do that is to swing the ball. (On the and-one play), we caught them, got their heads looking, I flashed, Kade found me, and they were late.”
The Panthers’ clinical keep-away play in the fourth quarter — two possessions burning more than a minute off the clock — held Drummond to its lowest total of the season by 15 points, avenging a 49-48 defeat in the Skeltur Tournament semifinals exactly one week earlier.
“Basketball’s a game of percentages,” said PC-Hunter head coach Darin Jones. “We know that us getting into an up-and-down game with them’s not in our favor to win. We moved the ball, but we got good shots out of that.”
When Drummond did get chances in the second half, the Bulldogs didn’t finish them. They only hit two shots after intermission, missing their other 15 as PC-Hunter honed in on stopping Drummond’s typically dynamic backcourt duo, seniors Parker Jankey and Brady Kokojan, who finished with 17 combined points on 6-of-22 shooting.
“There may not be a better one-two guard combination in the state than Parker Jankey and Brady Kokojan,” Jones said. “They can go, they can push it down the floor, they can shoot it, they can drive it, they’re both good scorers. So I was very pleased with the job we did. It was a team effort; when they put it on the floor, we were trying to give help.”
The Panthers hit just five threes on Friday, but all of them came in the first quarter and on just eight attempts in the frame. They hit from distance on their last three trips of the quarter, Eric Galliton setting up a wide-open Tracy for the final blow from the right corner just before the buzzer to put PC-Hunter up 19-6, energizing a sizeable Pond Creek traveling party in attendance.
Kokojan trimmed the margin to 10 with a three-point play to start the second at 19-9, and Jankey scored from the post to pull the Bulldogs within 23-15.
But Drummond came no closer, finishing the first half down 29-19. The Bulldogs were scoreless in nearly the first six minutes of the second half, finally breaking through with a bank-shot three from reserve Bryce Franklin.
PC-Hunter scored the first nine points of the fourth, Drummond again getting held without a point for most of the quarter. By the time Jankey hit a pair of three throws with 2:45 left, the Panthers were up 43-26.
Galliton and Grimes each finished with 10 points for the Panthers, who host Kremlin Hillsdale on Monday. Jankey’s 12 points led the Bulldogs, but no other player topped Kokojan’s five. Drummond will try to recover from its largest loss of the season and second in three games against host Covington-Douglas on Tuesday.
Lady Panthers secure another big win, 77-23
Pond Creek-Hunter entered Friday’s game playing its typical role of resounding favorite.
The Lady Panthers played their part, throttling yet another overmatched opponent, this time host Drummond by a score of 77-23. But with shooting like Friday’s, not many other teams could have stayed with them.
Jade Jones scored 27 points, Tiarra Davis added 21, the two of them combining to shoot 10-for-12 from three-point range in the Lady Panthers’ 54-point win, their third largest of the season.
The Lady Panthers hit 13 threes, 10 of them on 19 first-half attempts. After leading 6-4 in the game’s opening moments, they scored 13 straight, romping to a 25-8 lead after the first behind Jones’ 17 points in the frame. PC-Hunter opened the second with five threes — two from Jones, two from Davis and one from Rylie Halcomb — and stopped hitting from distance only when Davis and Halcomb completed three-point plays, all-in-all adding up to a 21-1 run to put the Lady Panthers ahead, 46-9, a lead that grew to 54-11 by halftime.
They were never tested in the second half, leading by as much as 72-14 in their 17th double-digit win in 18 tries. On average, they’ve now won by 39.2 points a night, which means little to Jones.
“Two years ago, we went undefeated, and we lost in the area finals, two games in a row, and didn’t go to the state tournament,” Jones said. “We’ve been there. We know.”
Halcomb notched the game’s lone double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Bria Taylor added eight points and four rebounds to lead PC-Hunter’s reserves in the final quarter and a half. The Lady Panthers host Kremlin-Hillsdale on Monday.
Lena Shiplet and Brittney Miller each finished with six points to lead Drummond (3-16), which visits Covington-Douglas on Tuesday.