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By Glen Miller
Staving off what would have been its first ever winless tournament appearance under head coach Rodney Haydon, El Reno High School’s boys basketball team defeated Star Spencer in overtime, 59-52.
The win came in the seventh-place game of the 2013 Anadarko Warrior Classic and snapped a three-game losing streak for the Indians, who improved to 6-4 on the season.
“When you start losing games, you can start doubting yourself and looking over your shoulder. It showed a lot of character to play for seventh place because you’ve got to will yourself to win, and they played well enough to win,” said Haydon.
El Reno trailed the Bobcats by four points with less than a minute left in the game, but reeled off two quick baskets to force overtime. In the extra period, the Indians got a basket each from Justin Brown and Justin Harris. Michael Jones and Harris added a pair of free throws each to cap the 8-1 scoring edge.
“This was a character game and we showed a lot of it. This was a tough tournament with El Reno, Carl Albert, Anadarko and Star Spencer in the losers bracket. This time of year, you’ve got to win, ugly or not,” said Haydon.
Jones led the team with 17 points, while Brown scored 11 points for El Reno, followed by 11 points from Bryon Elledge and 10 from Harris. Sage Lamebull chipped in four points, while Bailey Denny posted two points along with Josh Bushyhead and Christian Wassana.
Brown had nine rebounds, while Jones grabbed five and three from Lamebull. Kasey Gill and Elledge had two caroms each. Elledge and Lamebull logged four steals each, while Brown added three.
Anadarko 35, El Reno 32
The Indians led most of the game before falling to the Warriors, ranked No.4 in Class 4A, off points coming off an El Reno turnover.
Jones scored a team-high 18 points in addition to four steals, three rebounds and three assists. Brown logged seven points, eight boards and a dish. Harris ended with three points, three caroms and a steal.
Denny and Elledge scored two points each and combined for four boards and an assist.
Noble 44, El Reno 42
The Indians let another game slip away after leading the Bears most of the contest. It was the second loss of the season to Noble, ranked No.14 in Class 5A, for 10th-ranked El Reno.
Brown logged a double-double with 18 points, 10 boards and two steals. Jones, who missed the second period in foul trouble, closed with eight points, five boards and two assists.
Harris added six points, three steals and three assists. Gill and Wassana scored three points each, while Elledge and Bushyhead had two points each.