CRAWFORD – The West Oktibbeha High School boys' basketball team did one of the unthinkable things in sports Saturday night.
They beat their rival on the road.
The Timberwolves held onto a 76-75 victory over East Oktibbeha.
With the Titans leading 75-74 with 15 seconds to go in the game, the Timberwolves drove down and missed a layup, but Devin Culpepper was there for the putback with 6 seconds to go.
"I was just hustling down the floor," Culpepper said. "I knew it was coming off from the jump so I knew I had to get down the floor for the rebound, but I was in the right place at the right time."
That shot only summed up the type of game Culpepper played. Timberwolves head coach Danny Crawford pushes Culpepper hard and was proud of his fight.
"Culpepper did an awesome job the whole entire game not only on the follow," Crawford said. "The follow was big. He kept running and he never quit on the play. I'm not surprised because that is one kid I dog everyday at practice and I dog him everyday at school. He continues to work hard."
The Titans had a chance with 4 seconds to go but Davonte Lucious's 3-point attempt fell off the rim.
The first quarter saw the two teams trade buckets to start the game, but West Oktibbeha ended the first period with a 13-6 run to take a 22-16 lead.
Down 42-31 before the half, East Oktibbeha went on its own 6-0 run to close out the first half and cut the lead down to 42-37.
Crawford was intense the whole night on the sideline. He inspired his players, but wishes someone with a jersey on was able to do that.
"I have to be like that right now," Crawford said of being intense the entire game. "We are a very talented team, but I don't have a leader right now. They fed off my energy."
The Timberwolves held the lead for most of the game, until the Titans finally caught up with them midway through the fourth quarter.
Crawford was happy to get a tough road win and a win over a rival.
"It is big," Crawford said of the rivalry win. "That has been my thing all year that we played teams tough on the road. And we finally got a tough win in a tough place on the road. That is huge for us. We are 3-0 against our rival."
East Oktibbeha was led by Chris Harris with 33 points. Davonte Lucious added 17, while Davalyn Bell chipped in 10.
Culpepper led the Timberwolves with 20 points. Lavontis Smith contributed 18 and Kendrin Yates got in double figures with 10 points.
West Oktibbeha bettered its record to 18-6 overall and 3-0 in division.
West Oktibbeha 67,
East Oktibbeha 44
CRAWFORD – "We were tired and we needed some rest."
That was Lady Timberwolves head coach Marcus Johnson's reaction after the game.
It didn't show as the Lady Timberwolves took control of the game early on.
They ended the first quarter on a 12-3 run to take the lead and they never looked back.
West Oktibbeha finished the week 3-0 as they beat Smithville and Tupelo Christian earlier in the week.
"It was a good one," Johnson said of getting a rivalry win.
The Lady Titans made it a ballgame at halftime as they cut the lead down to 24-19, but the Lady Timberwolves opened up the second half on a 7-0 run to push their lead to double digits.
East Oktibbeha was only able to score 10 points in the third quarter and West Oktibbeha took a 48-29 lead into the final frame.
"We were lethargic through the whole game," Lady Titan head coach Pam Roberts said. "We have got to step it up 100 percent of the time and 100 percent of the game."
The halftime speech by Johnson seemed to inspire his club and they came out looking to end it early.
"I told them that we needed to pick up our intensity," Johnson said. "Defense pays and we need to be able to finish."
Fatigue may have been a factor as well after halftime for East Oktibbeha.
"Our defense fell off," Roberts said. "I had a lot of girls not feeling well. We struggled and they had their way with us."
Jaslyne Bedford led her team with 23 points. She has not forgotten the two defeats they have suffered at the hands of their rival this season.
"It feels good," Bedford said of the win. "They beat us twice on our home court by two and one. To blow them out, it was amazing. I started out rough but I pulled it out. We pulled it out as a team."
Breneshia Brownlee added 17 points and Brittany Jones chipped in 15 points for the Lady Timberwolves. They improved their division record to 2-1.
East Oktibbeha was led by Quanisha Doss's 16 points. The Lady Titans drop to 11-11 for the year.