MIAMI — J.K. Wayne liked the resiliency his Wyandotte Bears showed against Tulsa McLain in Thursday’s Boys Gold game at the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M High School Basketball Tournament.
The Bears trailed by six at the half and were down by 10 before falling 65-53 to McLain —ranked 19th in the most recent ossaarankings.com 4A poll.
“We showed a little resiliency,” Wyandotte coach J.K. Wayne said. “We fought to the end. We played hard. I am not going to say we played as well as we can play, but they had something to do with that.
“They have a good basketball team. Coach Love (McLain coach Cordell Love) does a good job with those guys.”
The win bumped the Titans’ record to 5-5 — with five of those games against ranked 6A and 5A teams. They upset 5A No. 5 Tulsa East Central 67-64 in overtime last Friday.
“Wyandotte is a pretty good team, but we expected to do what we did,” Love said. “I am trying to prepare my team for state. That’s pretty much what we were focusing on today and the whole tournament.”
A 3-point goal by Brendan Cooper pulled the Bears to within one, 5-4 early in the game.
The Titans went on a 16-5 run the rest of the way then outscored Wyandotte 18-13 in the second.
The Bears held an 18-14 advantage in the third period but could only narrow the gap to 11 with 63 seconds left after Carson Loncarich and Cooper buried treys.
“We are proud of the effort, but there’s no moral victories,” Wayne said. “We don’t believe in that, but they played hard. They beat us on the backboard today. That is what we were really trying to concentrate on because we told them rebounding would be the difference as big and physical as they were. They got some rebounds that we normally get.”
Cooper and Trey Jones scored 14 points each for Wyandotte.
Jordon Burney had seven, followed by Jacob Burney, Hunter Anderson and Blaine Stephens with four each, Loncarich with three and Justin Campbell with three.
Kamron Bunce had 20 points and Paul Vann added 10 for the Titans.
“These kind of games get us ready for the rest of the season and the playoffs, playing three days in a row against good people,” Wayne said.
“Every time we come to NEO, we start gelling and start coming together,” Love said. “They get away from the fans. They get away from their family.”
“I am trying to build character.”
The Bears play Tulsa Rogers at 3 p.m. Friday at the Miami Activity Center in a consolation game. Green Country topped Tulsa Rogers 76,68 in another first-round game.
In other early games involving local teams, it was Commerce 54, Tulsa Wright Christian 17, Girls Norse; Fayetteville Christian 68, Quapaw 43, Boys Norse; Afton 66, Braggs 28, Girls Blue; Tulsa Wright Christian 60, Commerce 53, Boys Blue; Fayetteville Christian 32, Quapaw 26, Girls Norse; Bluejacket 55, Riverton, Kansas, 51 (overtime), and Fairland 51, Watts 39, Girls Norse.
Action resumes Friday at 10:30 a.m. with another 24 games and a final 24 games Saturday leading up to the championship round: Girls Norse, 6 p.m., Wolfe Student Activity Center; Boys Norse, 6 p.m., NEO Field House; Girls Gold, 7:30 p.m., NEO Field House; Boys Blue, 7:30 p.m., SAC; Girls Blue, 9 p.m., SAC, and Boys Gold, 9 p.m., NEO Field House.