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Dragons start season strong

Victories over Washington and Lindsay


Purcell iced Washington to kick off the 2022-23 basketball season with post man Hayden Ice going off for 23 points in the 64-46 Dragon victory at The Reimer Center last week.

Joining Ice in double figures was fellow senior Malachi Evans with 16.

The contest was close in the first period with the Dragons clinging to a 7-6 lead after one period. But a 21-9 second quarter gave the Dragons the cushion they needed.

Ice poured in 18 of his 23 points in the second half.

Sophomore Kobe Freeman matched that 23-point number in Purcell’s second game of the season, a 55-48 victory over Lindsay also at The Reimer Center.

He was joined in double figures by senior Lincoln Eubank with 10 points.

“We have had a great start to our season,” head coach Roger Raper confirmed. “Our fans have been outstanding. We are getting closer to having a packed house on our side.”I have been very pleased with our efforts on the defensive end and that has been why we have won our first two games.”

Raper went on to say there remains work to be done on the offensive side.

“We are blessed with several kids who can score and each night we could have different players lead us in scoring,” the coach said.

That has already been proven with Ice and Freeman in the first two games.

“We are all learning how to utilize the multiple weapons we have. It’s a great start. The competition will continue in our first tournament this weekend in Madill.”

The Dragons open the tournament with Sulphur. They are on the same side of the bracket with Madill and Marietta.

“We will continue working to keep our defensive level up and be more consistent on offense,” the coach said.

Coach Toney Cooper’s Dragons tucked away their first victory of the season with a 55-48 victory over Lindsay last Friday night.

That victory came on the heels of a 59-54 loss at the hands of Washington to open the season.

In that contest, Purcell missed 11 free throws.

Sophomore Kenna Esparza led the Dragons in scoring in both contest throwing in 18 against Washington and canning an even dozen in the victory over Lindsay.

“The crowd was incredible in the Washington game,” Cooper said. “That was one of the best basketball environments I have been in. We shot the ball decently from the field but defensively we were not locked in enough.

“Each time we made a play we gave up another one on the other end,” the coach said. “Kenna had a solid game scoring. She hit some big shots,”

Cooper said sophomore Tinley Winters was a spark in the contest.

“Every time I looked up she was a making something happen, either rebounding or just going after the ball defensively,” Cooper said.

“Ultimately it came down to making plays on the defensive end and we did not do enough of that.”

Cooper called the Lindsay victory, “a solid performance overall.”

“Defensively we were much better,” he said praising his club. “Lauren Holmes and Kenna lead us offensively.

“As a team we did not shoot the ball particularly well. Coming off the Washington loss defense was the emphasis and our starters set the tone defensively and it carried throughout the game.”

The Dragons limited the Leopardettes to nine first half points.

“I was extremely proud of how our team responded to disappointing loss earlier in the week.

Purcell opens the Madill tournament today (Thursday) at 4 p.m. against Sulphur.

Also in the tournament are Marietta, Mount St. Marys, Plainview, Dickson and Durant.


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