YUKON — Even after a convincing 67-51 win over Crooked Oak in the first round of the Class 3A boys basketball state tournament on Thursday, Okemah coach Kale Simon seemed slightly disappointed.
“We never really got in the flow of the game much,” Simon said. “We fouled too much and never found the rhythm we like to play with.”
Despite his concerns, the scoreboard told a different tale.
Okemah raced out to a 22-11 first quarter lead, looking physically superior, and held a five-point halftime advantage.
Then, in maybe their most impressive sequence of the game, the Panthers went on a 14-2 run to start the second half, putting it firmly out of reach.
“In the third quarter, we finally guarded somebody,” Simon said. “I think they had about six points in the first six minutes. That ultimately allowed us to play better offensively.”
Okemah's Austin Guinn and John Wingfield tied for the team lead with 14 points. Crooked Oak's Steven Daniels had a game-high 15.
Okemah (24-3) plays Sequoyah-Tahlequah at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Sate Fair Arena. Crooked Oak ends the season 15-16 overall.