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Purcell Basketball

Dragons open Area with Bristow

Purcell must fight back through consolation bracket


Coach Toney Cooper’s Dragons face an uphill battle to make the Class 4A State Tournament.

They must win three games in a row in the Area Consolation Tournament at Okmulgee’s MVSKOKE Dome.

The Dragons, now 20-6, will square off with Bristow tonight (Thursday) at 6 p.m. The winner of that game will face the winner of Elk City and Wagoner at 1 p.m. Friday.

The consolation finals are set for Saturday at 6 p.m. against the loser of Stilwell and Bethany.

Led by double digit scoring from Ella Resendiz, Haven Buchanan and Alyssa Thompson, Purcell pinned a 51-34 loss on Newcastle in the opening round of the Regional Tournament at The Reimer Center.

Resendiz led the attack with 14 while Buchanan added 12 and Thompson finished with 10.

“We were truly happy to host a playoff game this season. One last time at Reimer for this season and there was no way we were going to not win the game,” Cooper said.

“We jumped out early against them and set the tone for the rest of the night. Ella Resendiz was dominant down low and on the boards.

“We are a different team, a better team, when she can contribute like she did in that game,” the coach continued. “We have not utilized our size enough this season so we are looking to find touches for our bigs as we go deeper into the postseason.”

“Alyssa is such a weapon for us from the outside and with her now looking to drive more it should pay dividends as we advance,” the coach said.

That victory set up a tough matchup with No. 1 Bethany in the Regional finals.

“David vs Goliath....is all I could think of coming into this matchup,” Cooper said.

The Lady Bronchos jumped out to an early 14 point lead but the Dragons matched them point for point in the second quarter to trail by 13 at intermission. Bethany stretched their lead in the second half out-scoring Purcell 35-16 over the final two frames to post a 78-45 victory.

“Bethany by far is the best team in 4A and it was such an honor to face them on their home court this early in the postseason,” the coach said.

Buchanan led the Dragons with 15 points.

“She was fearless,” Cooper said of the junior sharp shooter. “Known for her outside shooting, she attacked the basket and got to the line. She set the tone and others followed.

“I was extremely proud of our kids as we withstood their initial run and kept it a competitive game for most of the contest,” Cooper said.

Tinley Winters and Ella Resendiz battled against their bigs and never backed down.

“Our team left that game with one mind-set.....we want to play them again. We know that to have that opportunity we have to handle business in Area.

Coach Roger Raper’s Dragons bowed out of postseason play with a 77-65 loss at the hands of Bethany last Friday night.

Purcell took care of business Thursday afternoon at The Reimer Center dispatching Fine Arts, 71-20.

Four Dragons were in double figures led by Kobe Freeman’s 15. Brayden Tharp, Drew Blair and Jaime Resendiz each chipped in 11 points.

In the Bethany loss, Freeman led the Dragon offense with 26. He was joined in the 20-point club by Jaime Resendiz with 23.

Purcell ended the season 12-14.

“As a team we are disappointed our season has ended although we did have some bright spots,” Raper said.

“With only one senior, Kylen DeFreeze, and only one starter, Kobe Freeman, I thought at the beginning of the season it would take us awhile to figure things out.”

One of those things was rebounding, Raper admitted.

“But DeFreeze and sophomore Jaime Resendiz really took the initiative in becoming more physical and aggressive in the paint,” the coach said.

He said Freeman stepped up and  helped on the boards.

“We will return many players who were able to gain valuable varsity level experience and that will be so important for next year’s season.

“This group really had to figure out how to win at this level. It’s not an easy task and it is never guaranteed.

“Hopefully this offseason’s preparation will show a different level of intensity and focus. That’s required to be a successful team. Very few of our guys understood that as we prepared last offseason.”

Raper expressed his sorrow for not having DeFreeze around for another year.

“He was starting to hit his groove toward the end of the season. We wish him the very best. Of course, Kobe had a fantastic year scoring averaging right at 25 points per game,” Raper said.

He added that returning starters Brayden Tharp, Seth Bunch and Jaime Resendiz will bring a much higher level of experience when next year rolls around.

“We are also excited about many of our other young guys,” Raper said.

He was referring to juniors Kevin Resendiz and Aaden Troxel and sophomores Ryder and Maddox Ward, along with freshmen Drew Blair, Kyeston Martin, Galiel Solis and Jahir Resendiz.

“Our depth and experience will be much better next season. We are excited to go to work and get better and keep up with the Dragon tradition of having a winning basketball team,” he concluded.


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