MABEN – It was a big night all around for the West Oktibbeha boys' basketball team.
The seniors finished their final regular season game in H.D. Morgan Gymnasium with an 83-58 victory over the Tremont Eagles Friday night.
They also reached the 20-win mark for the season and clinched first place in the Class A, Region 4, District 1 tournament.
"Big win on senior night," West Oktibbeha head coach Danny Crawford said. "This win also gives us No. 1 seed in the district tournament. Puts us in the playoffs. A big win for us tonight."
The Timberwolves opened the game on an 8-2 run, before the Eagles went on their own 5-0 run to cut the lead down to 8-7.
That was as close as the Eagles got.
West Oktibbeha went on a 16-0 run to push its lead to 24-7. They used four 3-pointers in that stretch to set the tone.
The defense was also a huge key in setting the tone early. The Timberwolves came out in a full-court press and it gave Tremont a lot of problems.
"Last year at this time, we were applying a lot of pressure so I just wanted to start running my full court pressure against a district team," Crawford said. "We have been working on it and it worked toward our favor tonight. Everybody understands their rotation and it worked pretty good for us tonight."
The Timberwolves took a 28-11 lead into the second quarter, and took a 48-20 lead into the locker room at the intermission.
The Eagles opened the second half on an 11-6 run to cut the lead to 54-33, but West Oktibbeha answered and pushed their lead out to 30 points at 65-35 heading to the fourth quarter.
There was a lot to celebrate with the win, but it also got the Timberwolves one goal closer to their preseason expectations of themselves.
"Winning the division," Crawford said of what was bigger for his seniors. "We (have) four goals. We accomplished the first goal tonight. This puts us (in good shape) to accomplish the second goal and win the district tournament."
Tremont was led by Cole Glass with 21 points. Daniel Sturdivant added 14 points.
Senior Kendrin Yates led the Timberwolves with 20 points. Dwight Quinn chipped in 14. West Oktibbeha improved to 20-6 overall and finished division play with a perfect 5-0 record.
West Oktibbeha 46
MABEN – The Lady Timberwolves fought hard, but a poor free-throw percentage was the difference in the game.
West Oktibbeha did not make a single free throw in 15 attempts and Lady Timberwolves' head coach Marcus Johnson knew that was the deciding factor in the ballgame.
"Free throws are big," Johnson said. "That's very huge. At halftime, they were 6-for-11 and we were 0-for-11. That made the difference in the ball game. They won the ball game."
The Lady Timberwolves got in foul trouble early and the Lady Eagles shot 1-and-1s from late in the first quarter until halftime.
The game was tied at 11 after the first quarter and that set the tone for the rest of the game.
The two teams traded baskets for most of the second quarter before Tremont ended the period on a 8-3 run to take a 26-24 lead.
The two teams were tied again after the third quarter at 37 all. West Oktibbeha opened the final frame on a 4-0 run to take a 41-37 lead. However, the Lady Eagles held the Lady Timberwolves to only four more points the rest of the quarter.
"(Friday night) they were the better team," Johnson said. "They just won all the way around; free throws and 3-point shots."
The Lady Eagles established a presence down low early in the game and kept feeding the ball to post player Haydne Lindley.
"She dominated," Johnson said of Lindley. "We were not getting any weak side help. They fought hard. You never underestimate anybody."
The Lady Eagles were led by Lindley's 28 points.
Breneshia Brownlee led the Lady Timberwolves with 13 points. The loss dropped West Oktibbeha to 16-9 for the season.
Both the Timberwolves and the Lady Timberwolves will be back in action Tuesday night when they travel to Columbus to take on the Falcons.