Buffs fight to finish in thriller against Will Rogers

Jan. 9—The Buffs kept pushing to the final horn.

McAlester faced off against Will Rogers Tuesday at the McAlester Activity Center, where the Buffs fought to the finish in a 62-55 battle.

Garrett Pickett nailed a triple to start the game for the Buffs, with Brandon Smith next driving through a packed lane for a score. DeVantrae McKendrick later added another driving score, pushing McAlester into an early 7-2 lead.

The Ropers rallied in response, ending the quarter on a 15-2 run to take a 17-9 lead heading into the second period.

McKendrick nabbed a score to start the next quarter, with Alex Dooney later earning a driving bucket. The Ropers blasted off on another run, but it was broken up by Smith earning seven points for McAlester to cut into the lead.

Will Rogers hit a three, but Davien Pouncil answered with a swishing triple of his own to make it a 35-23 Ropers lead at the break.

The Ropers rattled off a 6-0 run to start the second half, but the Buffs battled back — using an 11-5 run to make it a 46-34 Will Rogers lead heading into the fourth.

Pickett and Smith got five quick points for the Buffs, later followed by a De'Veion Bickham backdoor pass to Dooney for a score to pull within nine points with the first 30 seconds of the period.

McAlester kept chipping away, with buckets from Pickett, McKendrick, Smith, and Isaiah Hishaw drastically slicing into the deficit. The Buffs battled to the final horn, but the Ropers held off a final McAlester push to seal the win.

McKendrick led the way for the Buffs with 15 points, followed by Smith with 14 points, Dooney with nine points, Pickett with seven points, Hishaw with four points, and Bickham and Pouncil with three points each.

Next up for McAlester, the Buffs will travel to Tulsa Friday to face Holland Hall in district play.