David Reeder

After defeating Wilburton on Friday, the Kansas Comets earned their way into Saturdayís consolation final versus Stigler, at Stigler. The Kansas boys found themselves in a physical battle against the 20th rated Panthers from the very start of the contest.

In the first quarter, Kansas put the ball up 19 times and connected on 4 and only 3 of 6 free throws. Conversely, the Panthers shot 5 of 11 two pointers and 8 of 10 free throws. Fortunately, and thanks to 4 Tyler Barenbergís rebounds, Kansas remained within 7, at 18-11.

Early in the second the Comets went on a 6-0 run and Garrick Davisí steal and subsequent bucket forced the Panthers to call a timeout at the 4:08 mark. With their lead trimmed to 1 point, Stigler followed the timeout with a 7-0 run of their own.

Trailing by eight the Comets missed their first six shots of the second half, while Stiglerís co-high scorers, Justin Smither and Hunter McClary, did all of their teamís third quarter offense putting in five and six points, respectively. Senior Greg Lankston scored all five of the Cometís points in the third and the Comets began the fourth down 36-22.

There was some good news for Kansas in the final period in that they had their best offensive quarter of the game. Lankston put in five more to go with four each from Barenberg and Blade Christie to score 17. But the bad news for the Comets was that the Panthers would end up with their best scoring quarter, as well. With Smither scoring eight more from the floor, the Panthers shot nine of 13 from the free throw line, scoring 21 of their own and trumping the Kansas effort.

Following a two-hour break, the Lady Comets took to the floor to take on the Stigler girls for the Regional hardware. And from the outset it became obvious that the Lady Panthers had made a huge tactical error in their game plan. That error was the mistaken assumption that they could outmuscle their guests. Eventually that strategic error would come back to bite them in a big way.

Despite the fact that the Lady Cometís post, Channing Berridge, would get whistled for two early fouls, that didnít stop her from hauling in three rebounds. The two fouls sent Berridge to the bench, where Brooke Panther replaced her. And the talented sophomore answered with one of her best ball games of the year. Hauling in three boards of her own and registering a blocked shot, Panther scored five of her game high 17 points as the Lady Comets jumped to a 14-9 lead. Kansas forced 10 of Stiglerís 22 turnovers in the opening quarter alone.

In the ensuing stanza Panther continued to bedevil Stigler with a pair of put back baskets following a pair of offensive boards to go with 4 of 4 free throws. Stigler had to scrounge to score a half dozen, falling behind by double digits at the half.

Following the intermission the Lady Comets put together their best scoring quarter of the game. Kortni Kendrick put in six to go with four each from Panther and Shanoah Smoke to anchor their 19-point frame and quieting the once vociferous hometown crowd to nothing more than occasional polite applause. Jessica Glass scored five of Kansasís final quarter dozen, as the Lady Comets coasted to the 58-35 victory.

The 4th rated Kansas Lady Comets move to the Area Tournament, Friday where they will tangle with the number 1 rated Tahlequah-Sequoyah Lady Indians, at Muskogeeís Civic Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30.