MABEN – For a second year in a row the West Oktibbeha High School boys' basketball team will have to wait until next year to win the division tournament.
The Timberwolves fell to Houlka Friday night 68-42 in the Class A, Region 4, District 1 championship game.
The Wildcats jumped out early and never trailed.
West Oktibbeha was able to tie it at 16-16 in the second quarter, but Houlka pushed its lead back out and entered halftime with a 24-19 lead.
"We weren't defensive minded," West Oktibbeha head coach Danny Crawford said. "Our defensive intensity wasn't there. We played out of our normal. That wasn't West Oktibbeha High School basketball team. We just didn't give a good defensive effort. At this point in the year when you don't defend, box out or rebound, you going to lose."
The Wildcats pushed their lead back out in the third quarter and entered the fourth ahead 37-30.
They closed the game on a 17-3 run.
Crawford noticed that Houlka played with a lot of energy and did what it took to win.
"Congrats to Houlka," Crawford said. "They played extremely hard. At this point in the year, whichever team plays the hardest is going to win. It's simple. They just outplayed us."
Houlka was lead by Dante Turner with 20 points. Jarvis Pullman added 17 points and Kyndrell Atkinson chipped in 15 points.
Kendrin Yates paced the Timberwolves with 15 points. Dantaveous Crawford added 12 points and Evrick Jones got in double digits with 10 points. The loss dropped them to 22-8 for the year.
West Oktibbeha will host a first-round playoff matchup against Ingomar of Union County Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m.