DEWEY — What a difference a day makes. (Or, in this case, two-thirds of a day.)
Just 16 hours after the Pawhuska High School basketball team weathered a Friday night gut check to reel in a 52-47 triumph over a capable Bishop Kelley JV squad, the Huskies essentially tapped out of their third-place showdown at the Bulldogger Basketball Tournament.
And, head coach Jake Christenson was none too happy about it.
Christenson, a PHS graduate who’s in his first season at the local helm, felt the Huskies folded up their tents a little prematurely in Saturday’s 44-point loss to the Vinita Hornets.
In Friday’s late game at the Dewey tournament, Pawhuska watched a comfortable, double-digit advantage disappear as the Comets shot back to tie the contest, 45-45, with 4 1/2 minutes remaining. Key buckets by senior Ben Gray and freshman Easton Kirk, plus defense and key rebounds from seniors Nate Richardson and Tyler Wilson, enabled the Huskies to claim their sixth season victory. PHS had four players score in double figures, topped by senior Will Merrell with 16.
Gray and Merrell scored 13 apiece in the Huskies’ tourney opener loss Tuesday night, 55-49, to the host Doggers. (Next Monday night, the Dewey squads will visit Pawhuska to help the Huskies and Lady Huskies celebrate Homecoming.)
Saturday afternoon, against the Class 4A Hornets, Pawhuska fell behind, 13-1, and saw the deficit keep growing (to 39-15 at halftime and on over 40 points in the fourth). Later that night, Christenson was still coming to terms with the Huskies’ apparent lack of effort in the contest. The PHS coach said he could not give the team a pass just because the Hornets are a bigger-class school .
“It’s more about pride,” Christenson said. “And, I just didn’t see much out there today.”
The makeup games with Hominy have been rescheduled here for Thursday Feb. 9 — which gives the PHS three home games that week. Pawnee pays a visit to Oren Terrill Field House on Tuesday, Feb. 7, and Barnsdall comes calling Friday, Feb. 10, for the Huskies’/Lady Huskies’ home finale.