Pawhuska hoops teams get first wins at Nowata

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital

NOWATA — Pawhuska High School basketball teams both managed one significant win apiece in last week’s Nowata Invitational tournament.

The PHS Huskies recorded their first-ever triumph under head coach Chad Kills Crow by running past the Oklahoma Union Cougars, 60-46, in Saturday’s seventh-place consolation game of the boys’ bracket. Late Friday afternoon, the Lady Huskies had scored their initial victory for new coach Lauri Shatswell with a 49-35 thumping of the Sperry Lady Pirates.

Kills Crow’s win as Pawhuska coach follows many he had as a Huskie player in the mid-1990s. The return to his alma mater came after several years as a college head coach at Haskell Indian Nations University. Shatswell was a longtime assistant coach at Morris before coming to Pawhuska as assistant principal/co-athletic director.

The Hambright sisters were a dynamic duo in the Lady Huskie triumph. Sophomore Mya Hambright scored 13 and senior sister Kailee accounted for 11 points in addition to grabbing a game-high nine rebounds. Both of the Hambright girls knocked down three from three-point range.

Sperry was paced by freshman twins Payton and Jordan Kight with nine and six points, respectively, while combining for five three-pointers. Another pair of siblings also contributed for PHS as junior Sydney Sellers chipped in eight points and pulled down seven rebounds and her sophomore sis Sierra scored five and rebounded five.

Pawhuska’s girls staked a 11-4 first-period lead, with the Hambrights providing all of the local points. At halftime, the PHS advantage was nine (23-14) and the Lady Huskies outscored Sperry, 16-11, in the third. Kailee Hambright reeled in five fourth-quarter caroms, which included four at her team’s offensive end of the court.

In their break-through win Saturday, the Huskie boys battled Oklahoma Union back and forth for most of the first three periods before doubling down on a seven-point advantage over the final eight minutes.

A pair of juniors, William Merrell and Ben Gray, supplied a big chunk of Pawhuska’s firepower. Merrell topped all scorers with 19 points and Gray added 17 points and dominated the boards with 10 rebounds. Justin Lundy led Oklahoma Union with 14 points and eight rebounds.

The PHS boys jumped in front, 6-1, behind early three-point plays by senior center Lance Harden and sophomore forward Brian Jeffers. A rally by the Cougars put the Huskies at an 18-12 disadvantage after the opening period, however. The two squads were tied six times in the contest, including 25-25 at halftime. OK Union was leading midway through the third stanza before Gray took a Cougar missed shot for a layup that made it 31-all. Seconds later, a steal and score by Merrell put the Huskies ahead to stay.

Both squads were successful on just two of 12 shots from three-point range. The Huskies fouled freely, but their opponents only 20 of 38 free throw opportunities. Pawhuska canned seven of 12 charity shots and four of those completed three-point plays.

PHS’s boys were throttled by Sperry, 79-28, in their opener in the tourney. They fell to Chelsea, 53-45, Friday night.

The Lady Huskies lost to Mannford, 35-26, in their first-round outing and dropped a fifth-place consolation game to Lincoln Christian, 34-32, on Saturday. That contest was moved up to a 9:30 a.m. “red-eye” tip-off for Lincoln Christian, which was to play in the Class 3A football championship later Saturday. (The Bullodogs lost the title game, 38-14, to Heritage Hall.)

“We led by as many a eight points,” Shatswell said of the consolation defeat. “What killed us was scoring just two in the second period and four in the fourth.”

PAWHUSKA 49, SPERRY 35 (Girls)

Lady Pirates: 4 - 10 - 11 - 10 — 35

Lady Huskies: 11 - 12 - 16 - 10 — 49

Sperry Lady Pirates (1-5) — Payton Kight 9, Jordan Kight 6, Madeline Driskell 5, Abby Barnett 5, Hannah Presnall 3, Taylor Robinson 2, Ashley McCause 2, Katherine Hurd 2, Kelsie Smith 1. Coach: Shane Doyle.

Pawhuska Lady Huskies (1-3) — Mya Hambright 13, Kailee Hambright 11, Sydney Sellers 8, Sierra Sellers 5, Genie Herren 3, Star Sweeden 3, Sarah Phillippi 2, Keylee Kirk 2, Kyleigh Riebel 2. Coach: Lauri Shatswell.

HUSKIES 60, COUGARS 46

Okla. Union: 18 - 7 - 11 - 10 — 46

Pawhuska: 12 - 13 - 18 - 17 — 60

Oklahoma Union Cougars (4-3) — Justin Lundy 16, Dakota Handke 8, Zane Rogers 7, Tyler Gibson 4, Kannon McCune 2, Jeff Collier 6, Sam Barron 3, Logan Johnson 1. Coach: Lee Ott.

Pawhuska Huskies (1-4) — Will Merrell 19, Ben Gray 17, J.R. Young 9, Mattheu Rector 4, Lance Hardin 4, Brian Jeffers 3, Bradley Moreland 0, Kody Linde 3, Nathan Richardson 2, Rocky Murray 0, Hayden Henley 0. Coach Chad Kills Crow.