The Pryor Times


March 3, 2014

Chouteau returns to area bracket

TAHLEQUAH, OK — The Chouteau Wildcats, led by Champ Bridges’ 17 points and a relentless defense that forced numerous turnovers, defeated the Colcord Hornets 53-37 Saturday afternoon.

With the win, Chouteau (18-9) staked a claim to a 2A regional consolation title and earning a berth into next week’s Area IV tournament in Muskogee.

“In the beginning of the year, our offense was really good, our defense wasn’t, because it didn’t mean anything to them,” CHS head coach Travis Wheeler said. “Now, they have really bought into the defensive side of the ball. Our offense has been struggling some, but our defense has been playing really well. To win big games, we have to make stops, and they’ve done a great job with that.”

Chouteau’s intensity was at fever pitch level from the very beginning. Colcord’s first three possessions resulted in three turnovers, including two steals, as the Wildcats set the defensive tone early on.

“If you make it hard to score, then you give yourself a chance,” Wheeler said.

Chouteau jumped out to a 9-2 lead after the first quarter and never looked back. Chouteau was 6-of-15 from 3-point range (40 percent), a far cry from last week’s 3-for-20 performance against the Hornets in a 40-37 district final loss. By halftime, Colcord trailed the Wildcats 26-11.

Chouteau held Colcord forward Tyler Potter, who was coming off a 25-point performance the night before, to just five points.

Facing elimination, Chouteau had to win three games in a row to earn a berth into the area tournament and will need to win three more to earn a second-straight state tournament berth.

“Winning three in a row is hard,” Wheeler said. “One, you’re coming off a loss to start with, then you are going three games in a row with hardly no practice time in that span, then your legs; you’re just trying to save your players’ legs and hoping to get them a break so they won’t be so tired.”

The Wildcats will open area play on Thursday night at 8 p.m. at the Muskogee Civic Center against Dale's Pirates.

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