Short-handed and almost one-handed in one case, the Okarche Warriors saw their 2019-20 campaign come to a close Saturday.
Okarche overcame a slow start, but couldn’t completely overcome the Crowder Demons in a 68-57 defeat in their Class A regional consolation championship game at Moss.
The defeat gave the Warriors a final record of 15-14.
“The guys stayed hungry and fought through a lot of adversity this season,” said head coach Aaron West, who took over head coaching duties just prior to the season when his father and longtime head coach, Ray West, passed away.
Adversity struck just before the regional when starter Evan Endres suffered an injury that required nine stitches in his non-shooting hand.
Endres didn’t make a field goal (though he did make free throws) in Okarche’s first two games of the regional, but did knock down four to score nine points in the final game.
“He played through the pain and never complained,” West said of his sophomore. “He always gave 110 percent.”
However, the Warriors were without one of their two leading scorers, Logan Kroener, in Friday and Saturday’s games.
They were able to stave off elimination Friday by hammering Wetumka 57-28.
Kaleb Harris scored 25 and Joseph Schaefer 14 in that victory.
Against Crowder, Okarche fell behind 22-7 in the first quarter.
The Warriors weren’t deterred, however.
They outscored the Demons 24-12 in the second quarter.
But Okarche couldn’t keep pace in the second half as Crowder pulled away late.
The Warriors struggled to stop Severyn Mills, who scored 32 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Mills was 5 of 12 from 3-point range. The rest of his team went 3 of 12.
James Long added 17 points for the Demons.
Harris assumed the bulk of the offensive load for the Warriors and responded with 27 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Schaefer and Endres had nine points apiece.