Jan. 19—Fans sat on the edge of their seats as every second felt like days.
Haileyville squared off against Pittsburg in Friday's consolation semifinal round at the 2024 Pitt 8 Conference Tournament at the Southeast Expo Center in McAlester, where the Panthers completed a second-half comeback to win 44-42 and advance to the consolation championship.
Alex Richards pushed the Warriors out front, scoring the first hard-earned six points. Dustin Labor followed with a swishing three, with Max Comstock adding a cleanup bucket to push the Haileyville lead to double digits.
Aiden Whitmore used free throws to get the Panthers on the board, but Richards answered with a reverse layup to a roaring Warrior crowd.
Labor's hot shooting from downtown continued with another swishing three, but Will Caudill answered with a short-range jumper for Pittsburg and Garrett Wood followed with two more points to make it an 18-6 Haileyville lead at the end of the opening quarter.
Both teams battled back-and-forth through the second period of play, but a big buzzer-beating triple from Pittsburg's Shaedyn Wilcox cut the Haileyville lead to 24-18 at the half.
The Panthers opened the third quarter of play lighting up the scoreboard from beyond the arc, with triples from Wilcox and Landon Patterson tying up the game at 28-28. The two teams traded blows through the final minutes of the period, with Tirik Malone sinking a shot to put Haileyville up 32-30 heading into the fourth quarter.
Wood drilled a three to give Pittsburg its first leader, but Labor hit one in response for the Warriors. Wood followed with yet another swishing three, sending Panthers fans jumping to their feet.
Haileyville responded with a run, pulling back out to a four-point lead with 5:15 to play. Pittsburg pulled back within a possession, but a bucket by Cameron Sensibaugh pushed it back to four points.
Kolby Sharp and Caudill combined to trim the Haileyvill lead down to one point with three minutes to play. Sharp was then sent back to the line, hitting his second shot to tie up the game at 42-42. Wood then drilled a contested jumper, giving Pittsburg the lead with 2:00 remaining.
The Warriors were able to nab a steal and the seconds ticked down, but Pittsburg secured the defensive rebound on the missed shot. Haileyville was forced to foul, sending the Panthers to the line. Although the shots were missed, Caudill wrangled in the offensive board and fed his teammates out of the paint as the horn sounded to seal away the game.
Wood led the Panthers with 14 points, followed by Caudill with 11 points, Wilcox with nine points, Whitmore with five points, Patterson with three points, and Sharp with two points.
Sensibaugh led the Warriors with 13 points, followed by Richards with 12 points, Labor with 11 points, and Aiden Twomey, Comstock, and Malone with two points each.
Pittsburg will next face Canadian Saturday in the 2024 Pitt 8 Conference Tournament conference championship at 1:30 p.m.
CANADIAN 53, INDIANOLA 35
The Cougars came ready for a battle.
Indianola and Canadian battled Friday in the 2024 Pitt 8 Conference Tournament consolation semifinals, where the Cougars used a hot scoring run to take a 53-35 win and advance to the consolation final.
After a defensive start to the game, it'd be Jalen Eddington driving through a crowded lane for a score. Owen Maxey followed with a mid-range jumper the next time down the floor, giving the Warriors the early two-possession lead.
AJ Tabb put the Cougars on the board with a pair of free throws, but Eddington answered with back-to-back driving scores for Indy to extend the lead once more. Tabb was sent back to the line, but the Warriors answered with another score from Eddington.
The Cougars kept battling back, and used a three-point play from Jaden Rogers to cut the score to a 10-7 Indianola lead heading into the second quarter.
Canadian kept the momentum moving into the second quarter, tying up the game with 6:35 to play in the half. Both teams battled down the stretch, but the Cougars used an 15-4 run to end the half and take a 27-16 lead heading into the locker room.
The Cougars kept that momentum rolling into the second half, using a 13-7 run in the third quarter to lead 40-23 into the fourth period.
Indianola looked to trim into the deficit, with Marshall Vaughan using a three-point play to help get the Warriors moving in the final quarter. Eddington followed with a three from the top of the arc, trimming the Canadian lead down to 15.
The Cougars kept powering forward, with points from the likes of Rogers and Kaden Elza sparking a run that sealed away the win.
Rogers led the Cougars with 22 points, followed by Tabb with 11 points, Bryson Buie with 10 points, Elza with five points, Added Smitherman with four points, and Alan Sutmiller with a free throw.
Eddington led the Warriors with 16 points, followed by Maxey with eight points, Hayden Knapp with four points, Vaughn with three points, and Kasen Carpitcher and Jimmy Beams with two points each.
Next up for Canadian, the Cougars will face the winner between Pittsburg and Haileyville in Saturday's consolation championship at 1:30 p.m.
Here is the complete 2024 Pitt 8 Conference Tournament boys bracket:
B1: Kiowa 68, Indianola 16
B2: Crowder 78, Canadian 38
B3: Stuart 57, Pittsburg 39
B4: Savanna 66, Haileyville 35
B5: Kiowa 57, Crowder 39
B6: Stuart 44, Savanna 29
B7: Canadian 53, Indianola 35
B8: Pittsburg 44, Haileyville 42
B9: Canadian vs. Pittsburg, 1:30 p.m. (Consolation championship)
B10: Crowder vs. Savanna, 4:30 p.m. (Third place)
B11: Kiowa vs. Stuart, 7:30 p.m. (Championship)
This post will be updated following the conclusion of Friday's games.