By Wesley Coburn
The Preston Pirates finished in third place in the 15th annual Muscogee (Creek) Nation Okmulgee County Tournament last week by holding off the Dewar Dragons.
Preston faced off against the Henryetta Knights in a first-round matchup Monday night, and the scoreboard operator was kept very busy. The game wasn’t ever especially close, Preston had control the whole way through after an 18-11 first-quarter lead that grew to 46-27 at halftime. Henryetta rallied in the third quarter as Preston’s lead shrank to 66-53, but the Pirates pulled out the 95-75 win.
The Pirates were led by C.J. Cochran, who scored a tournament-record 57 points, while Turner Howk scored 15 points and Jarron Williams added seven. For Henryetta, Colten Wion scored 24 points, Drew Brown scored 10 and Micah Lowe added nine.
Preston moved on to Thursday’s semifinals against the Beggs Demons, falling in another high-scoring contest. It was basically the flipside of Monday’s game, as Beggs led the entire way through, ending with a 95-88 score.
Cochran led the Pirates with 43 points, while Williams scored 15 points and Billy Hudson scored 14. The Demons were led by E.J. Smoot with 38 points, Shaidan Jordan with 22 points and Jayden Grayson with 18 points.
Saturday’s third-place game began with six straight Dewar points, only for Preston to tie the game, and then Dewar reeled off eight straight, the Dragons leading 27-18 at the end of the first quarter. Things tightened up in the second quarter as the halftime scoreboard showed the Dragons ahead 38-34. Preston’s first lead of the game came with 2:49 left in the third quarter at 50-49, and both teams traded the lead back and forth with the Pirates ahead 57-56 at the end of the third quarter. Dewar clawed back to lead 62-61, but Preston held them off to pull out a dramatic 77-70 victory.
Cochran led the Pirates with 31 points, Juan Zavala scored 15 points, while Williams scored 12 and Jared Fife added 10. For Dewar, Joey Fowler scored 24 points, Brock Hicks scored 21 points, Dustin Blood scored 15 and Gentry Bryson added 10.
Preston gets back into regular-season play at home against Atoka on Tuesday, January 23, with the girls tipping off at 6:30 p.m. and the boys tipping off at 8 p.m.