By TONY EIERDAM
JACKSBORO – Olney’s Bret Johnson and Derrick Paul combined for 47 points to lead the state-ranked No. 5 Cubs to a 68-47 victory over the Santo Wildcats here Friday night in a Class A, Region II, Division I area championship game.
“We had a really great season,” Santo head coach Tony Smith said. “I am really proud of the guys, and I couldn’t have asked for more effort from them all year long.
“Olney is very good, and we knew we were going to have to play extremely well to beat them. They were just a little better than us (Friday) night.”
The Wildcats finish with an overall record of 24-8 and have appeared in the playoffs in three consecutive years.
“We are trying to work for a tradition where we expect to make the playoffs every year,” Smith said. “
The game also marked the final high school basketball contest for eight Santo seniors including Christopher Hoover, Corey Steiner, Tim Long, Parker Conaway, Shane Scott, Andrew Watkins, Tayler Jones and Zane Mauney.
“I have eight seniors, and I just love that class,” Smith said. “They have worked really hard the last six years for me, and I am going to miss them a great deal.”
The Wildcats took the early lead and never trailed in the first quarter. Santo jumped out to a 5-2 lead after a layup from Conaway and a three-pointer from the left baseline by Cooper Barling.
Santo’s lead grew to four points, 9-5, when Long drove in for a layup and Zamorris Cannon scored on a put back.
The Wildcats enjoyed their largest lead when Barling hit a trey from the top of the key to give Santo a 14-9 advantage.
Olney cut the lead to 19-18 when Johnson, who finished a game-high 27 points, hit a jumper.
The ‘Cats extended their lead to 21-18 when Hoover nailed a short jumper, but Olney went on a brief 6-2 run to take a 24-21 lead.
Undeterred, Santo came back to tie the contest at 24 on a three from the left baseline by Keith Chalker.
However, before the half ended, Olney’s Johnson and Paul combined for 13 points as the Cubs ended the second quarter on a 13-4 run to take a 37-28 lead at the break.
Olney scored 22 points in the third quarter to put the game away. Johnson had a pair of three-pointers, and the Cubs held the ‘Cats to 10 points in the period to take a 59-38 lead as the contest moved to the fourth quarter.
OHS 18 19 22 9 – 68
SHS 19 9 10 9 – 47
SHS – Zamorris Cannon 10, Parker Conaway 10, Christopher Hoover 8, Cooper Barling 7, Keith Chalker 5, Tim Long 5, Zane Mauney 2.
By TONY EIERDAM
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