Eupora boys lose overtime decision after comeback

Eupora basketball coach Danya Turner talks with his boys team.
Staff Writer

There was every reason for the Eupora Eagles to lay down at halftime on Tuesday night.  

Through some frustrations this season, the Eagles made it to the first round of the Class 2A, Region 2 Tournament at East Webster and couldn’t have been colder from the field. A deficit continued to grow in the second quarter and double digits against Calhoun City spelt trouble.

The Eagles weren’t going down that easy.

Behind a late 3-pointer by Jarren Patterson, Eupora battled back to force overtime before running out of gas in a 71-65 defeat that ended its season.

The 3-pointer from Patterson came after starting the game 2-for-16 from long range.

“I tell him to shoot the ball," Eagles head coach Danya Turner said. "That’s his gift. This week he kind of struggled, but to be a shooter, you can’t lose confidence. You’re going to have nights like this, but you’re going to hit that one shot like he did (Tuesday).”

Makaylon Patterson led the way for the Eagles for most of the four quarters, however. He finished the night with a game-high 29 points keeping the offense afloat when it struggled the most.

“That kid works constantly on his game,” Turner said. “He gets up at 6 in the morning and will probably be shooting (Wednesday) morning to work on his game. He has a bright future if he keeps his head on straight.”

It was a great start for Eupora, which had five quick points from Jarren Patterson and the Eagles jumped out to a 9-2 lead. That timeout by Calhoun City helped get the Wildcats back in it as they answered with a 12-3 run to take a 14-12 lead after a quarter.

Eupora drew cold from the field going 6 minutes without a bucket that helped it fall behind by 14 points. Makaylon pulled the Eagles out of a funk as he did all night and scored the last six points that they had in the half to make it 31-18 at the break.

Makaylon was back to work in the third. He put together two three-point plays that cut the lead down to 33-26. After getting it to a five-point disadvantage with the end of the third looming, Eupora gave up a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that pushed it back to 44-36.

The late momentum by the Wildcats still didn’t do in the Eagles. As they clamped down defensively, they made it a two-point game with Makaylon’s bucket at the 1:30 mark. Jarren hit his big shot with 16 seconds left in the game to send it to overtime, but the Eagles couldn’t finish it off.

Jarren had 17 points in the game joining Makaylon in double digits.

The Eagles fired up 40 3-pointers for the night only connecting on seven of them.

Turner spoke post game of how proud he was of the players that stuck through the 11-13 season. The team had eight players on Tuesday after starting with 14 and one of those was senior Al Dumas, who was a leader for the squad.

“Al Dumas was a great leader and motivator who never hung his head,” Turner said.

Dumas is the lone member of the team who won’t return next year. Turner brings back all of his major contributors looking for a better end to 2019 than they had this year.

Girls Game
Leflore County 49, Eupora 30

Before the boys squad saw their season come to an end, the ladies fell first.

The Lady Eagles weren’t able to get an offensive flow going in the game and had a team-high nine points from Jasmine Gary in the loss.

“They have played hard in every game, but we haven’t made shots,” Turner said. “Those kids really work hard. They fought hard every night and I’m proud of them.”

Eupora scored just one point in the first quarter when it trailed 8-1, but it had a much more efficient second. After falling behind 19-8 late in the second, the Lady Eagles swished back-to-back 3-pointers to close the lead to 19-14 and carry momentum into the locker room.

That momentum didn’t last for Eupora, which railed 31-23 after three quarters and gave way to a big fourth by the Lady Tigers.