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Dragons host Lex

District games are Saturday starting at 6 p.m.


No. 3 Purcell finished the regular season strong winning 12 of their last 13 to finish the regular season 21-2.

Battling illnesses Monday at Lindsay the Dragons came up on the short end of a 53-34 decision.

The table is now set for the playoffs to begin here Saturday night when Lexington comes back to The Reimer Center.

The Dragons recently avenged the Marlow setback downing the Outlaws 62-46. They defeated Pauls Valley, 56-53 and toppled Lexington, 77-41.

“It’s finally playoff time,” head coach Roger Raper said after the Lindsay contest.

“Unfortunately, we were dealing with some illnesses and didn’t have the firepower to challenge them. Malachi Evans was out and immediately following the first quarter Hayden Ice became ill and hand to leave the game.

“We continued to fight with Kobe Freeman leading the way dropping 14 points. Now we need to get well and rested for a strong run for the Big House and the State Tournament,” the coach said.

Freeman led the scoring in the Marlow contest with 24 while Ice knocked down 16 points in the paint.

Freeman led the team with 21 against Lexington. Also in double digits were Evans with 16 and Ice with a baker’s dozen.

Evans scored 20 on the Panthers followed by Freeman with 15 and Kylen DeFreeze with 10.

“What a great week had with 3 victories,” head coach Roger Raper said.

The victory over Lexington clinched the Conference Championship making it four consecutive seasons for the Dragons.

“Everyone brought energy into the Marlow game and our defense was spot on that night,” Raper said. “I was very proud of our guys and how they competed. Kylen DeFreeze brought the energy on Thursday night at Pauls Valley with a season high 10 points and a rim protector on the defensive end.

“It’s always a tough place to play. Friday night we really turned up the heat after the first quarter and made the game much faster with our defense.

“Credit to Lexington for coming out strong and making some big baskets early but we were able to take control in the last three quarters and pull away.”

After stubbing their toe in a double overtime loss at home to Marlow last week, Toney Cooper’s No. 10 ranked Dragons reeled off three straight victories ahead of Saturday’s District Tournament showdown with Lexington.

The Outlaws out-scored the Dragons 13-11 in the second overtime period to pin a 46-44 loss on Purcell.

Lauren Holmes led the offense with 14 points. She was joined in double figures by Kenna Esparza with 10.

The two teams battled to a 27-27 tie at the end of regulation and both put up six points in the first overtime period.

Going into the game Cooper told his team not to dwell on the past.

“We beat them on their home court and my expectation was that they would be eager to return the favor,” the coach said.

“It was an incredible basketball game that took two over times to decide the winner. From a fan perspective, I am sure it was fun to experience,” he continued. “We did not shoot the ball particularly well, in large part because our ball movement, player movement was non-existent for most of this game.

“I was proud of our girls for handling the adversity and never letting the game get out of reach and giving ourselves a chance to win. We learned a lot from that game that will serve us well as we head into the playoffs.”

The Dragons bounced back with victories over Pauls Valley, Lexington and Lindsay.

A trio of players were in double figures against Pauls Valley including Holmes with 14 and 10 each from Ella Resendiz and Esparza.

“Fresh off a loss our girls came into this game focused,” Cooper said.

“Lauren Holmes led us in scoring but more importantly she led us in effort. Countless play after play, when Pauls Valley made a run she was there either taking a defensive stand, knocking down a big three or grabbing a key rebound. Her energy and effort was amazing.

“Our girls handled the hostile environment very well and I was happy they were able to get the season sweep of Pauls Valley.”

The Dragons had a 15-point fourth quarter lead that all but evaporated in their 52-49 victory over Lexington.

Esparza was the only Dragon in double figures with 11.

“We were super excited for this game, as it was senior night,” Cooper said. “The focus for us was to make this a memorable evening for our four incredible seniors.

“All four got to start and play significant minutes throughout. We were excited for Yoseline Estrada, who has battled injuries throughout the season but was able to get a bucket in front of our crowd.

“She has persevered through so much and I was happy she was able to have her moment. I was happy with the team’s effort in securing the win for our seniors,” Cooper said.

The Dragons put a big road win in their pockets Monday night at Lindsay to finish the regular season at 17-6.

Led by Haven Buchanan’s 16 points, Purcell iced the Leopardettes, 52-45.

Holmes was also in double figures with 10.

“Our last regular season game, we wanted to end our season on a high note as we prepare for playoffs,” Cooper said. “Our girls were great from start to finish. Haven was named our athlete of the month recently, we are so proud of her efforts on and off the court.

Holmes went 4-4 from the line in the fourth quarter to seal the game.

“Lindsay deployed a zone most of the game, but after big shots from KK Eck to open the third they eventually resorted to man defense,” Cooper said.

Eck canned a pair of treys in the second half.

“I was happy with our effort, we struggled offensively at times this season with zones simply because we were not patient enough,” Cooper said.

Against Lindsay they overcame that and were able to get great ball and player movement.

“It was a great win to cap off my first regular season at Purcell. Our team works hard and plays hard. I could not be more proud of them.

“We get Lexington to open our playoffs. Our girls will be ready and focused,” the coach said.

Dragon notes:

The boys game with Lindsay was the school’s 2,500 basketball game. Purcell is 1,622-878 overall.


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