Jackets dominant en route to 3rd straight Buckle crown; KHS girls settle for 2nd
The 17th annual Buckle of the Wheatbelt Invitational had an anti-climactic finish, but it was no less sweeter for the Kingfisher boys basketball team.
The Yellowjackets won their own tournament for the third straight year by throttling Weatherford 72-35 Saturday at the APB.
“We felt confident going in, but still had to show up and play,” said coach Jared Reese. “I think we did that for the most part.”
Weatherford was the tournament’s sixth seed, but upset third-seed Chisholm (57-34) and second-seeded Bethany (41-39) to reach the title game.
That pitted the Eagles against No. 1 seed Kingfisher, which had beaten them 102-46 on that same court a few weeks earlier.
Also, the win over Bethany came at a cost as sharp-shooter Jaxon Raterree injured an ankle and was unavailable Saturday against the Jackets.
That hampered the Eagles even more against an already stingy KHS defense.
Down 23-8 after a quarter, Weatherford scored just two points in the second.
Kingfisher’s Bijan Cortes scored at the rim on an isolation set to end the first half, giving KHS a 44-10 lead.
Cortes had 13 points and five assists.
Several of those assists went to Matthew Stone, who led all scorers with 22 points. He also had eight rebounds.
Stone scored 11 points in the first quarter, several during a 13-0 run that saw KHS jump out to an 18-4 lead.
The sophomore had 18 points by halftime.
Jett Sternberger added 15 points and Trey Green eight.
KHS shot 54.3 percent for the game, but only made 4 of 18 3-pointers. The Jackets were 21 of 28 inside the arc.
The Jackets’ most impressive performance came Friday in a 74-42 victory against No. 17 Cache in the semifinals.
KHS had 26 assists on just 29 field goals and shot 69 percent.
That included a 15 of 24 clip (62.5 percent) from 3-point range.
The Jackets were 9 of 10 from beyond the arc and missed two shots total in the first half as they built a 37-14 lead.
Sternberger never missed a shot, which included seven 3-point attempts.
He led all scorers with 23 points.
Stone added 17 points while Green handed out seven assists to go with his 16 points.
Reese Lafferty scored eight points.
While he didn’t score, Cortes tallied nine assists.
“When we share the ball like we did Friday, we become so tough to guard,” Reese said. “And when we shoot like that on top of it, that’s just icing on the cake.”
Saturday’s win was Kingfisher’s 10th straight as the Jackets improved to 16-1 on the season.
Lady Jackets reach final, finish as runners-up
Weatherford pulled away from Kingfisher late for the second time this season, this time to claim the Buckle of the Wheatbelt championship Saturday with a 53-34 victory.
The win gave Weatherford its second consecutive Buckle championship.
Kingfisher stayed within striking distance and despite scoring just seven points in the third quarter, only trailed 4A’s 13th-ranked team by 10 points.
But Weatherford got 10 points from Ashlyn Sage over the final eight minutes as part of an 18-9 run.
Sage made two 3-pointers during that stretch and Bailee Pond added another.
The Lady Eagles were 10 of 22 from long range while KHS was just 4 of 19.
Katelyn Stolz scored nine points to lead KHS, which dropped its season record to 8-9.
Hanna Matthews chipped in eight points and five rebounds.
Brooklyn Whipple and Maddie St. Cyr scored five apiece. Whipple led the team with six rebounds.
Weatherford improved to 15-2 and got 17 points from Sage and 11 from Bond.
The Lady Jackets earned their spot in the title tilt by defeating No. 20 Harrah 40-31 on Friday.
It was Harrah’s first-ever loss in the Buckle.
The Lady Panthers won the title in their first three appearances from 2015-17, but didn’t take part in last year’s field.
But this time around, the Lady Panthers never could crack Kingfisher’s defense.
KHS held them to 25 percent shooting.
With the game tied at 18 at halftime, KHS went on a 12-4 run in the third period.
St. Cyr scored six points during the spurt.
Kingfisher then went 6 of 9 from the foul line to help preserve the lead in the fourth.
Stolz had 10 points and six rebounds to lead the team.
St. Cyr scored nine while Whipple and Melody Wilfong had five apiece.