MABEN – Friday night brought a little extra something to the West Oktibbeha gymnasium.
Amidst the basketball action, the Timberwolves took a few moments to honor a few of their own as they celebrated the hard work of their seniors.
First up were the Lady Timberwolves who featured three seniors including Jaslyn Bedford, Victoria Hudson and Raven Evans.
With Bedford leading the way, West Oktibbeha engaged in a hard fought battle with Eupora that saw them trail at halftime but in the end the team stood strong, walking away with a 49-43 victory.
“(It was a) big win for the girls,” West Oktibbeha coach Danny Crawford said. “They went out, they worked hard this year and learned a whole lot. We played with 8th and 9th graders and three seniors so it was a big win to finish the season 10-6.”
From the very beginning, things were tense between the teams as they stood separated by one point following the first period.
Things did not change very much as the game entered the second period. Still engaged in a battle, West Oktibbeha continued to trail by one as Eupora hung to a 21-20 lead at halftime.
The Lady Timberwolves began to make their move in the third period. Outscoring the Eagles throughout the entire period, West Oktibbeha held a seven point lead before allowing Eupora’s Haley Robinson to sink a three to close the gap to 34-30 heading into the final period.
West Oktibbeha took no mercy during the opening moments of the fourth period. Beginning with Adryana Bell playing string music from behind the arc, the Timberwolves embarked on a 13-1 run to open the period.
The teams continued to battle right until the end as West Oktibbeha walked away with a six-point win.
After the game Eupora coach Bryant Thomas spoke on the struggles for his team.
“Things were back and forth for a while and it seemed at halftime, he (Crawford) made the right adjustments,” Thomas said. “My girls never really got settled in on offense. We have moments where we score eight points in 30 seconds, but then we have drops where we don’t score for minutes at a time. (Friday night) was one of those nights and they came out with a victory at West Oktibbeha.”
Bedford led the Lady Timberwolves with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Fellow senior Hudson led the team in rebounds with 19 while also posting eight points.
Robinson paced the Lady Eagles with 15 points, followed by Kallejah Evans with 13 points and Jaliyaah Patterson who scored 10 points.
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MABEN – The West Oktibbeha and Eupora boys took the court following the girls’ contest where they featured seniors Von Smith, Darius King, Evrick Jones, Javarest Gray and Michael Graise.
The contest was just as close as their female counterparts, but the outcome was reversed as Eupora pulled off the victory.
While the Timberwolves might have lost, Crawford knows just how much the game between these schools means for the community.
“It was a tough loss,” Crawford said. “Whenever you get a Eupora who is seven miles out and West Oktibbeha who is seven miles the other way, it is good for both schools. (It's a) good rivalry game with big bragging rights. I bragged for two months after our win, now they get to brag for the summer until next year.”
With the Eagles leading by four, Derrick Jones had a put back dunk to push Eupora’s lead to 8-2. Things continued to fall the Eagles way as they led 17-8 after one quarter.
West Oktibbeha rebounded in the second period. With senior Smith’s nine points leading the way, the Timberwolves outscored Eupora 16-11 to only trail by four at the half as the score stood 28-24.
Both teams scored 17 points in the third period as Eupora continued to hold a four-point lead at 45-41.
Intensity picked up in the final minutes of the contest.
With just over a minute remaining, Eupora converted an old-fashioned three point play as Chance Cooper scored and was fouled then made the free throw to make it a 60-55 ballgame.
West Oktibbeha answered with a three-pointer of its own as Smith scored with a minute left to pull it to 60-58.
Two seconds remained as the Timberwolves missed a shot which was rebounded by Eupora who was subsequently fouled. The Eagles made both shots to continue the four-point theme with the final score.
“I’m just glad and proud of my kids,” Thomas said. “They really played hard (Friday night). To come over here in a hostile place where it’s hard to get wins, they did the job and came though.”
Eupora played consistently as a team with four players concluding their night in double digits. Jones had 17 points, followed by Deon Watkins with 15 points. Cooper and Trey Pittman completed the double digit quartet scoring 14 points each.
A pair of seniors led the West Oktibbeha offense as Smith posted 25 points, while Evrick Jones put up 18 points to close out the Timberwolves’ home season.