The postseason brings out the best in Pioneer’s boys.
The Mustangs reached the Class B semifinals in football and will be riding the momentum of three wins in the regionals when they face 19-4 Seiling at 3 p.m. Thursday in the Class Area I losers bracket quarterfinals at the Stride Bank Center.
“These guys like challenges for some reason,” said Pioneer coach Mike Deckman. “When someone comes along that’s pretty good we’re excited about it.”
Seiling is 18-2 over its last 20 games, but lost to Arapaho-Butler, 43-40 in its regional final.
“They are athletic and shoot the ball as well as anyone we have seen this season,” Deckman said. “We’ll have to play as well as we have all year to have a chance.”
Deckman felt the Mustangs did that in beating Drumright, Wellston and Woodland at regionals. Colby Vestal had 50 points. Freshman Ayden Iverson had 50 as well. Ty Dennett had 49, including his best two games of the season (19 and 24 in the last two contests).
Deckman said the Mustangs benefitted from having a late start.
“I would rather be playing well on Feb. 15 than Jan. 15,” he said. “Ayden is just growing up. Ty has always been his consistent stuff. We had to have him step up the last two games and that didn’t phase him at all. They were trying to stop Colby, but Ty and Ayden stepped up.”
Pioneer is in the area for the third straight year. They are 2-2 at the Stride Center this season. Deckman estimates his seniors have played at least 20 games there in their careers.
The Pioneer-Seiling winner will meet the Texhoma-Thomas winner at 3 p.m. Friday. That winner will play the Arapaho-Butler/Calumet loser at 8 p.m. Saturday for a berth in the state tournament.
C-D looks to bounce back
Covington-Douglas (20-3) will try to come back from Tuesday’s emotional 58-51 loss to Garber in the regional finals at Yale when the Wildcats face Riverfield Day School (17-3) at 3 p.m. in the Class A Area II Tournament at Cleveland.
Covington-Douglas had come back from an early 15-0 deficit to take the lead after three quarters against the Wolverines. Gloire Houmba put the Wildcats on his back with a 32-point effort, including scoring 14 of his team’s 18 points in the third period.
“It is a tough game to come back from,’’ said Wildcats coach Kenny Daugherty. “They are a little bit down. We’re a little tired, but once we get back to practice, I think we will be excited for the opportunity to get to play again.
“It’s not like our season is over. We just have to take a different path that we had planned on. Our goal is still ahead of us. We still have an opportunity of making our goal to make the state tournament.”
Houmba tweaked a hamstring Tuesday but is expected to play. He has scored 60 points in the Wildcats’ three playoff games. Parker Smith has scored 49 points.
Daugherty agreed with Garber coach Will Smith’s postgame assessment the Garber/C-D game was a “war.”
“There was definitely a lot of emotion that was spent,” Daugherty said. “Gloire put us on his back and carried us. We tried to get over the hump, but we just couldn’t do it.”
Riverfield, 17-3, won three games in its regional to advance to area. They have won five of its last six. Covington-Douglas is 7-2 over its last nine games. Both losses were to Garber.
“Hopefully, we can come back,” Daugherty said. “Riverfield has two excellent guards and they are very athletic.”
The winner will play the Davenport-Vanoss winner at 3 p.m. Friday at Cleveland.
Drummond faces Arnett
Drummond’s girls, 18-4, will be making their first area appearance since 1989 when the Lady Bulldogs face 17-9 Arnett at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Class B Area I Tournament at Woodward.
“It’s been a long time,” said Drummond coach Devon Schafer. “We feel like we can match up well with them. They have some good shooters and some girls that can play inside.”
The Lady Bulldogs have won seven of their last eight games, including three in the regional tournament. They held their opponent under 30 points in all three games — Boise City, 28-25; Kremlin-Hillsdale, 40-29; and Balko, 36-25.
“We have just gotten better and better as the season has gone along,” Schafer said. “We’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”
The Lady Bulldogs have had a different leading scorer in all five of their playoff games. Caitlin Busch and Kate Spring had 18 against Tyrone. Emma Spring had 13 against Beaver. Brinley Buchanan had 12 against Boise City. Sofia Cutruzzula had 11 against Kremlin-Hillsdale. Kirya Mack had 17 against Balko.
Drummond starts two sophomores, a freshman, a junior and a senior. Most of the subs are freshmen and sophomores.
“All of this is new to them,” Schafer said. “I’m sure we will be a little nervous, but we feel we can play with them.”
The Drummond-Arnett winner will play the winner of the 1 p.m. game between Beaver and Okeene.
Okeene, 16-5, won three straight games at the regional tournament and has won seven of its last eight. Beaver, 10-6, had a five-game winning streak broken by Leedey, 64-52 in the regional finals.
Madison Schmidt had 42 points in the regional tournament for Okeene.