Purcell’s Dragons won the Heart of Oklahoma Basketball tournament in dramatic fashion last weekend.
It was the first HOOT Championship for the Dragons since 1995.
The Heart title was Purcell’s third tournament championship this season tying them for second place all-time in the history of Purcell’s storied basketball program. The only other team to win three tournaments in a single year was the 1956-57 team. The 1955-56 team holds the record with four tournament titles. They lost in the state semifinals that year at the hands of Calera.
After cruising past the OKC Knights 80-42 in the opening round, Purcell’s next two opponents were both in Class 4A.
Purcell deployed a smothering defense holding Elgin to 35 points and No. 8 ranked Anadarko to 37 points in the finals.
The Dragons defeated the Owls 40-35 in the semifinals and took down Anadarko, 50-37, for the title out-scoring the Warriors 21-4 in the final quarter. They entered the fourth period down by four, 33-29.
The Dragons began the week with a road victory over Washington January 17, 63-59.
“We had an incredible week, going on the road to Washington and winning and following that up with winning the HOOT,” head coach Roger Raper said.
“I could not be more proud of our team. It was a complete team effort with every player that played making a great contribution to our success.”
Malachi Evans, who was named to the All-Tournament team, was on fire in the first round nailing seven treys to pour in 31 points. Evans torched the nylons for 45 points in the three games of the HOOT.
Hayden Ice, who was named the tournament MVP, battled inside in the Anadarko victory for 18 points. He finished the tournament with 37 points in the paint.
Lincoln Eubank had a break-out game against Anadarko with four baskets from three-point land including one four-point play. He finished with 15 points against the Warriors and had 23 in the three tournament games.
Kobe Freeman had 10 assists and no turnovers in the first game. The sophomore point guard was instrumental in the win over Anadarko. He had 26 points in the tournament including 17 in the opening round over OKC.
“Brody Galyean and Hayden Renfro did an incredible job defensively on one of the best players in the tournament during the final game,” Raper said.
“Noah Mason and Brayden Tharp both gave us very positive minutes during the entire tournament.
The coach said junior Kylen DeFreeze had his best showing of the season in the Elgin game and against Anadarko. DeFreeze chipped in 14 points in the three games.
“His play was huge in both games with contesting and blocking shots and making big buckets at crucial points of the game,” Raper said.
“Now we must regather ourselves and focus on our main goals. I’m super proud of our guys.
“The crowd was awesome throughout the tournament and we thank them for their continued support,” he concluded.
After their loss to Marlow, Purcell fell to No. 4 in the current OSSAA poll. They are 15-1 on the season. The game that was postponed at Lindsay Tuesday will be made up February 13.
Coach Toney Cooper’s Dragons finished runners-up in the HOOT. After knocking off the OKC Knights 68-18 and No. 19 Elgin, 53-44, in the semifinals, the Dragons ran into a juggernaut.
Anadarko’s No. 7 ranked girls proved to be too much knocking off the No. 10 ranked Dragons, 63-28 in the finals.
Haven Buchanan led the scoring against the Knights with 11. Purcell had a trio of double digit scorers in the Elgin victory including Ella Resendiz with 13 and Lauren Holmes and KK Eck with 10 apiece.
Resendiz led the team in the three games with 23 points. Holmes and Eck both had 20 points during the tournament.
“Although we would have preferred winning our tournament, I’m super proud we were playing in the championship game,” head coach Toney Cooper said.
“Coming off a tough loss against rival Washington, we knew we had to quickly put it in the rearview mirror and focus on the Heart of Oklahoma Tourney,” he said.
Cooper said his club jumped on the Knights in the tournament opener and never looked back.
“We had balanced scoring across the team, led by Haven Buchanan,” Cooper said.
“We were able to generate easy baskets off turnovers.”
The semifinal opponent, Elgin was a much steeper hill to climb.
“We started slow offensively but eventually settled in and pulled away in the second half.”
Cooper said the leadership of Eck and Holmes down the stretch was vital in the Elgin victory.
“Getting to the final game was our goal and we were able to do that.
“Anadarko jumped on us early and we never recovered. We struggled with their length and could not find any offensive flow at all. Our defense has not been as consistent, the past few games and against good teams we can’t afford for it not to be,” the coach said.
“My message to the team was losses never feel good and particularly lopsided ones like what we experienced, however they present the greatest growth opportunities for both me and our team,” he continued.
“We will continue learning and growing as we push towards the playoffs. I’m proud of the girls that we were able to be in a position to compete for a championship,” he concluded.
Purcell’s record stands at 11-5. The game at Lindsay will be made up February 13.
The Dragons will host Davis Friday night and host Pauls Valley next Tuesday night to close out the month of January.
Ella Resendiz was named to the Heart of Oklahoma All-Tournament team.
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