Lookeba-Sickles coach Landon Scales watched his father, Daryl, take a lot of good teams to the state tournament. Five of them got to the semifinals.
But none ever got any farther, until Friday night.
The third-ranked Panthers rallied from a 14-point deficit for a 65-60 win over Okeene in the Class B boys semifinals at State Fair Arena, giving the school its first shot at a gold ball.
“I think about my dad coaching at this school for 29, 30 years,” Landon Scales said. “We put our heart into it, had some big games, great teams for a lot of years, and we finally got over the hump today.
“My dad won it numerous times in baseball, but sometimes getting over the hump can be tough, so I hope this is what our program needed to get to that next level.”
Daryl Scales handed the program over to his son two years ago. The Panthers will face the winner of No. 1 Forgan and No. 2 Arnett in Friday’s late game for the title at 7:15 p.m. Saturday at the Big House.
“There have been a lot of good players come through, but they never could get to that title game,” guard Bryson Lierle said. “(Daryl Scales) coached my brothers, and they had a great program.”
Lookeba-Sickles trailed by as many as 14 in the first half, and were still down 11 early in the third quarter. But Lierle and Connor Karpe went to work. Lierle finished with 25 points, while Karpe had 21 points and 10 rebounds.
And most importantly, the Panther defense kicked in after halftime.
“Our defense the first half really wasn’t that good,” Lierle said. “In the second half, we started playing defense with a lot more intensity, and then shots started falling.
“This means a lot to go play for a gold ball and be the first team to ever make it to the finals.”
Okeene (24-5) was led by Will Bedwell with 18 points, while Hunter Miles added 14 points and 18 rebounds.