MABEN – There may have been seven games played before the West Oktibbeha High School boys' basketball team played a game in the Class A, Region 4, District 1 tournament, but the wait didn't seem to hamper their effort.
The No. 1 seeded Timberwolves got a 78-27 win over No. 5 seed Vardaman Tuesday night in semifinal play.
West Oktibbeha cruised into the championship game as they pressed early and often making it difficult for the Rams to get any type of half-court offense going.
"I am trying to do what I did at the end of last year, bringing a lot of full-court pressure," West Oktibbeha head coach Danny Crawford said. "Switching up presses every two or three trips down the floor. It seems to confuse kids. When you get use to one press, we are in another one. It is working for us right now."
The Timberwolves opened the game on a 6-0 run. The Rams were able to cut the lead down to 8-6 after a 4-0 run.
That was as close as Vardaman got.
West Oktibbeha closed the first quarter out on 15-2 run to take a 26-8 lead into the second quarter.
"l just wanted to get out and let my older guys, my more experienced guys set the tone to make sure we are doing everything right," Crawford said. "Make sure we are playing with energy."
The second quarter belonged to the Timberwolves as they ended the half on a 14-4 run to take a 49-20 lead into the locker room at halftime.
"It came from my second group," Crawford said. "I am blessed to have 10 guys that I can play comfortably. That second group is just as good as the first group. My second group played with way more energy than my first group."
The second half wasn't much different for the Timberwolves who allowed only seven points.
They played some of their reserves for most of the half, but the press remained and East Oktibbeha stretched out its lead to 63-23 at the end of the third quarter.
"We are at home," Crawford said of what he plans to tell his team for today's game. "We are 11-1 now at home. We just have to strap up and get it done. It is going to be tough."
Vardaman was led by Dustin Sanford with nine points.
Aaron Brownlee and Eddie Johnson led the Timberwolves with 14 points each. Every player scored for the Timberwolves. Crawford's team improved to 22-7 for the year.
West Oktibbeha will play No. 2 seed Houlka today at 8:30 p.m. in the championship as they beat No. 3 seed Tremont 58-35.
The Rams will play the Eagles at 5:30 p.m. in the consolation game.
No. 2 Tremont 51,
No. 3 West Oktibbeha 47
MABEN – Avenging a senior night loss was the only thing on the minds of the West Oktibbeha High School girls' basketball team.
It was not to be as the Lady Eagles stole a victory away from the Lady Timberwolves in semifinal action inside H.D. Morgan Gymnasium.
"My scheme worked to a T," West Oktibbeha head coach Marcus Johnson said. "Everything I practiced on. My scheme was to keep (Hayden Lindley) out of the game. The referees gave me a bad call."
The Lady Timberwolves entered the fourth quarter trailing 30-26. They finally cut the lead down to one after a 6-0 run to make it 41-40.
Tremont pushed its lead back out to five eventually and made its free throws down the stretch to ice it.
"The referees wouldn't let them play ball," Johnson said. "You got to let them play ball. It's a tournament. I am satisfied with my girls. We ain't going nowhere. We are still here."
The Lady Timberwolves did get some help when Tremont's best player, Lindley, recorded three fouls before the first quarter was over.
She did not come back in the game until the 3:30 mark in the third quarter. She was immediately whistled for a foul, but never recorded her fifth.
But foul trouble stung West Oktibbeha as well. Jazlyne Bedford had three fouls before the first half was over. She eventually fouled out with 7:28 to go in the fourth quarter.
"I got to have Jaz on the court," Johnson said. "I got to do a better job of hiding her on D. We will work on it and get it straight."
The Lady Timberwolves opened the game up on a 4-0 run and ended the first frame with a 13-11 lead.
West Oktibbeha had a chance to enter the final frame with a lead after they went on a 4-0 run early in the third quarter to take a 25-24 lead.
The Lady Eagles responded with a 5-1 run of their own to take back the lead.
"To come in and defend their home court just like they are supposed to," Johnson said of what he expects from his team in the consolation game. "Come in and play ball. That is all we have to do."
The Lady Eagles were led by Emalee Yielding with 19 points. Lakyn Todd added 14 points.
Berneshia Brownlee was the only Lady Timberwolf to score in double digits. She paced West Oktibbeha with 20 points.
The Lady Timberwolves will play No. 1 seed Vardaman in the consolation game after the No. 4 seed Houlka beat the Lady Rams 37-22.
The Lady Eagles will play Houlka for the championship.