Huskies deal Black Bears their first loss of the season

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

The Pawhuska Huskies varsity basketball team won an important 63-50 victory last week over previously undefeated Pawnee.

As of Feb. 5, the Pawnee Black Bears were 16-1, and they were scheduled to host the Huskies on Feb. 16 in the final regular-season game for both clubs.

The Feb. 2 win over Pawnee at home raised Pawhuska's season record to 12-2 at the time. PHS dropped a narrow, 49-48, decision to Liberty at home on Friday, Feb. 5, and was scheduled to be on the road Monday, Feb. 8, versus Woodland. The Cougars were entering that matchup with a record of 15-3, including a Jan. 18 defeat at Pawhuska.

"I could tell there was a little extra energy in the gym," Pawhuska's first-year head coach Talby Justus said of the Feb. 2 game versus Pawnee.

Pawhuska and Pawnee teams have had some hard-fought games in the past couple of years. Justus, who played his high school ball at Pawnee, sees the potential for a good rivalry between the schools.

Justus praised the shooting of senior Tell Richardson in the Pawnee game, along with the defensive play of junior Dalton Hurd.

"Dalton Hurd had an amazing game on the defensive end of the floor," Justus said.

He said Hurd, who is also a Huskies football standout, played with "determination and grit," particularly in the second half of the Pawnee game, as he defended against an important member of the Black Bears' lineup.

Justus also noted that his son, senior Holton Justus, handled Pawnee's pressure and traps, and that the Huskies' big men inside "were just a handful."

Pawhuska entered this week with just three regular-season games left -- the trip to Woodland on Monday, a rematch at home versus Dewey on Thursday, and the season-closing trip next Tuesday to Pawnee.

The Pawhuska Lady Huskies came into this week with a 13-4 mark, coming off wins over Pawnee and Liberty.