Stillwater News Press

High School Sports

March 13, 2014

Latta bests Pawnee in state quarterfinals

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Before Thursday’s Class 2A state quarterfinal game, Pawnee coach David Page thought his team’s defensive pressure could give Latta trouble. The Latta Panthers for the most part broke Pawnee’s press and defeated the Black Bears 54-49 at Oklahoma City University’s Abe Lemons Arena.

“We missed a few easy balls that were loose on the floor,” Page said. “Didn’t come up with those. As good of a team as they are, we didn’t play as well as them today. ... Not happy with losing that game. I’m happy with the season we had.”

Latta (25-4) shot the ball well early and jumped out to an 8-2 lead on two 3-pointers by Kade Hayes. Led by Gideon Gardner, who scored seven points in the first quarter and 14 in the first half, the Black Bears went on an 11-5 run and cut the Panthers’ lead to two. But Latta responded with a 7-0 run to take a 20-11 lead with 6:25 left in the second. The Panthers held a 28-22 edge at halftime.

“Our shot selection wasn’t really good,” Page said.

For most of the second half, Pawnee wasn’t able to get closer than six points and trailed by as many as 10, early in the final quarter. The Black Bears (22-6) made a run late to still have a chance. Paydon Moore hit a three to cut Latta’s lead to seven. Nathan Brock stole the ball and passed to Moore, who missed the layup but Brock scored on the rebound. Gardner added two baskets to cut the Panthers’ lead to 51-49 with 1:22 left. The Black Bears weren’t able to get closer as Latta made three of four free throws to ice the game.

Latta had three players in double figures, led by Hayes who scored 15. The Panthers will face Thomas-Fay-Custer in the semifinals at 6 p.m. Friday at Jim Norick State Fair Arena.

Gardner led the team with 22 points. Brock finished in double digits with 10. Pawnee will lose seniors Ryland Moore and Paydon Moore.

Page said his team will work on making a run next season.

“We have a lot of young kids. We should be better next year first of season then we are today,” Page said. “We will be back.”

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