A strong fourth period in which Ardmore outscored Carl Albert 23-12 was not enough to make up for a huge deficit in the first three frames, as the Titans hung on for a 64-56 victory over the Tigers for the boys consolation trophy Saturday afternoon in the Ardmore Holiday Festival.
Ardmore (5-7) started the fourth period down 52-33, but the Tigers had a strong final 8 minutes that trimmed the Titans' lead all the way to six points at 59-53 with 40 seconds left. But Carl Albert managed to be just good enough at the line to hang on for the win.
Carl Albert (6-1) had a huge game from junior forward Cameron Warren, who scored 28 points in the first half alone. He finished with 38 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Titans.
According to Ardmore coach Mark Wilson, Warren was not the player they focused on when the game started.
"Warren did not play against us when we played them earlier in the year, because he was still in football," Wilson said. "He can definitely do it all. He didn't miss too many shots, and he was their go-to person when they needed a bucket.
"We focused on (Javeion) Gray and (Jared) Price since we thought they were their high scorers. We used a 'triangle-and-one' defense on them and held them down pretty good. But they did a good job of getting the ball to Warren for open looks."
Ardmore used one senior, six sophomores and one freshman through much of the game.
"We're smaller and younger than we have been recently, and it showed early on," Wilson said. "But I was proud of the way we rallied in the fourth."
Warren scored Carl Albert's first eight points and accounted for 14 in the opening frame that saw the Titans jump to a 23-15 lead. But a long drought in the second period hurt the Tigers.
With the score 23-20 early, Carl Albert went on a 14-0 run to push its lead to 37-20 before a 3-point bucket by Ardmore's Anthony Willis ended the streak. At half the Titans were up 39-23.
A stronger focus on defense by both squads held the scoring down in the third, but the Titans maintained the 19-point advantage heading to the fourth.
After hitting 65 percent from the floor in the first period, Carl Albert finished the game 25 of 53 (47 percent) to Ardmore's 39 percent (20 of 51). The Titans had a strong 41-23 overall rebounding edge and a 16-7 advantage on the offensive glass. Carl Albert held a 19-6 lead in second-chance points as a result.
Wright led the Tigers with 16 points, with four 3-pointers and six rebounds. Kevion McGee chipped in 13 points, including 5-of-6 from the line.
Boys split on Day 1
One game was lost on Friday. Ardmore made sure not to waste a second opportunity.
Page 2 of 2 - The Tigers rallied from a nine-point deficit to start the fourth quarter against Durant, using suffocating defense to hold the Lions to just two points in the final period of a 45-43 win at the Ardmore Holiday Festival.
Earlier in the day, Ardmore was stunned in its tournament opener, losing a 19-point lead to Dumas (Texas) in a 52-51 defeat. Things didn't look good against Durant, either, as the Tigers (5-6) sleepwalked through three quarters before coming alive in the fourth.
Durant's Cole Hughes hit back-to-back 3-pointers and Zac Cater followed with a basket in the lane to finish a 7-0 run at the end of the third quarter. But Ardmore responded with a run of its own, fueled by its hounding defense and the re-emergence of its fast break.
O.J. Walker started the final period with a coast-to-coast basket and the foul at 5:03. Walker missed the free throw, but Jeff Surrell grabbed the rebound and the put back to erase four points quickly.
Ardmore came up with a loose ball on the next possession, Surrell penetrated and found Anthony Willis for a corner 3-pointer to bring Ardmore back to within two at 41-39.
Durant was held scoreless for more than 3 minutes to start the fourth. When the Lions did finally score on a Cater putback to tie the game at 43-all, Willis responded with a drive and left-handed lay in with 15 seconds to go.
Willis scored seven of his eight points in the final 2 minutes of play, including the game-tying bucket on a putback to knot the game at 41-41, and the eventual game winner.
Chantz White led Ardmore with 12 points, and Dre Johnson added nine for the Tigers.