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Heart turns 50!

Another stellar field in one of Oklahoma’s best tourneys


One of Oklahoma’s oldest basketball tournaments, Purcell’s Heart of Oklahoma turns 50 years old this year and brings yet another stellar field of teams to The Reimer Center.

In addition to the host Dragons, Blanchard, Elgin, Plainview, Ada, Community Christian, Anadarko and Noble check in on the girls bracket.

“We are really excited about the tournament,” head girls coach David Sikes reports. “We have a tough first round match-up with 4A No. 19 Plainview. We have our work cut out for us.”

Ada and Community Christian kick off the tournament with a 10 a.m. tip. Other first round match-ups include Anadarko and Noble and Blanchard against Elgin.

“This tournament is always tough and one of the best in the state,” Sikes continued. “I know my group will be ready for the challenge.”

Purcell tips off against Plainview at 6 p.m. tonight (Thursday).

Coach Roger Raper’s Dragons open the tournament Thursday night as well taking on Elgin at 7:20 p.m.

Other first round match-ups include Anadarko and Plainview, Community Christian and Blanchard and Noble and Douglas.

“We are looking forward to the HOOT this year,” Raper said. “We have a great field of teams competing. Each game will require us to play well and hard to win.

“We are coming in fighting some sickness with COVID and have had to postpone our last two games.

“Also, senior Adolfo Vasquez has been out with an injury along with two other players waiting on the OSSAA to rule on their eligibility.”

Sikes’ Dragons traveled to Lexington last Tuesday and pinned a 50-26 loss on the Lady Bulldogs.

Led by Kenna Esparza’s 17 points Purcell built a 27-8 lead at halftime and cruised home with the victory.

“The girls played hard. It was a good game for us.,” Sikes said.

“We tried to focus on several things we wanted to get better on and I feel like we did.

“If we can ever find our consistent outside shooting we are going to take another step,” the coach concluded.

Playing short-handed, Raper’s Dragons had several players step up to the plate in the 61-52 victory.

“It was a great win for our team,” Raper said. “We had three of our top six players out and the guys really stepped up and played hard.

“We had players playing different positions than they’ve played all year and our Dragons came together and got the win,” he said.

Nate Willis and Hayden Ice both posted double doubles.

Willis knocked down 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds while Ice finished with 14 points and pulled a dozen caroms.

“Super proud of all these guys. Nate Willis and Hayden Ice both had double figure points and double figure rebounds,” Raper said.

Lincoln Eubank tied for game-high scoring honors with 22 points while being a perfect 9-9 at the charity stripe.

“Cooper Hall had a career high six rebounds and Jett Tyler and Brayden Tharp provided great minutes with very little rest,” the coach said.

“We hope we have enough to play and compete on Thursday against 5A Elgin,” Raper continued. “I’m not sure who will be available but we will go out and give it all we have.”


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