MARIETTA — It’s not often you see an impromptu dance party break out on a basketball court.
MARIETTA — It’s not often you see an impromptu dance party break out on a basketball court. But when it’s being done for celebration purposes, it’s usually accepted. The Madill Wildcats certainly had plenty to celebrate and dance about Saturday night in the championship game of the Ronnie Moore Invitational. Led by tournament MVP Miguel Duran’s 23 points, the Wildcats were able to hold off a strong Healdton Bulldogs team and claim a 58-44 victory at Marietta High School. The victory for the Wildcats came less than 24 hours after they survived a close encounter with the Pilot Point Bearcats from Texas in the semifinals. “We all showed up and played super hard tonight,” Duran said. “We were pretty upset about the semifinals because it was such a close game. “Our coach (Brett Weiberg) told us before we came out that we needed to play a full game and never give up. We took that message to heart and it led to the victory tonight.” “I’m honored to be the MVP of this tournament for sure,” Duran said. “But we still have a lot of work to do and accomplish as a team and I still have a lot of work to do in order to get better.” Madill sent a strong message from the opening tip that the pace of the game was going to be fast and furious. The Wildcats led 11-2 less than three minutes into the game, and the Bulldogs were left reeling early. Healdton managed to keep itself within striking distance going to the second at 19-9, but found itself down 25-13 less than four minutes into the second quarter. However, the Bulldogs slowly began to chip away at the lead and managed to get to within seven at 27-20 with 1:51 left before halftime. But the Wildcats had an ace up their sleeve and it came in the form of a strong 7-3 run to end the first half as Madill built a 37-23 advantage. Healdton attempted another comeback in the third quarter, but couldn’t get any closer than nine points as the third frame ended with the Wildcats leading 54-35. Despite being outscored 9-4 in the fourth, the Wildcats had already done the hard work necessary to win the game. Wyatt Gray added 16 points for the Wildcats in the victory. Healdton was led by Colton Pickelsimer with 14 points in the game followed by Jessei Pittman with nine points. Pickelsimer and Gray were both named to the All-Tournament team from their respective squads.