By Bruce Campbell
CNHI News Service
ENID, Okla. —
It didn’t take long to determine the turning point in Mulhall-Orlando’s 56-38 loss to Burlington in the Area III Class B loser’s bracket finals at Chisholm Trail Expo Center Coliseum Wednesday.
The Elks (23-7) used a 13-0 run to open the game to all but put away the Panthers, who end their season at 23-8. It was the second year in a row Mulhall-Orlando came within a game of reaching state.
The Panthers missed their first eight shots from the field, which told the story of the day. Mulhall-Orlando was only 11 of 54 from the field in its first appearance at the Expo Center.
“Burlington is not the type of team that you’re going to come back on,’’ Mulhall-Orlando coach Alex Beene said. “They are so disciplined and so smart. They are not going to miss free throws. The first quarter dictated the game.’’
Hadley Bryan led the Panthers with 13 points while Ryon Boatright added 11. Carter Stewart led a well-balanced Burlington attack with 16 points.
Beene said he was worried when he learned the game was being moved from Cleveland to the spacious Expo Center, in which Burlington had played every year at the Cherokee Strip Tournament.
“That really hurt our chances against their zone,” Beene said. “I’m not blaming it on anyone but ourselves. Their zone was incredible. That man (Elks coach Randy Turney) has been teaching that zone longer than I’ve been alive. It’s tough to beat a man who teaches an incredible zone.”
The closest the Panthers could get was four points twice (15-11 and 17-13). Burlington put the game away with a 9-0 run to go up 33-17 with 1:54 left in the half.
The Elks were able to attack the rim at will with layups and putbacks.
“That was our game plan,” said Stewart, who led Burlington with 16 points. “We went out there and played hard and executed and did what coach told us to.”
The quick start “made us relax and made them play catch up,” Turney said.
“Our seniors (Lane Newlin and Brandon Gosselin) and Carter Stewart have been playing big games like this for four years,” Turney said. “That helps. Once you throw the ball up, you just have to do your job and you can’t worry about nerves.”
Stewart was joined in double figures by Gosselin with 14, Kyle Ellerbeck with 13 and Newlin with 12.
“They weren’t real big so I told them we needed to take the ball to the basket,” Turney said. “I told them that we weren’t shooting any outside shots and to take everything to the rim and shoot everything in the lane which we did a good job of.”
Beene was proud of his team’s season, especially seniors Taylor Uhrig and J.D. Cameron.
“We had a good year,” he said. “Cameron and Tyler had the biggest hearts of anyone in this arena. They played their guts out.”