Just when it appeared the Altus High Bulldogs would complete a come-from-behind victory in their game with Lawton MacArthur here on Thursday night, the turnover bug struck. The result was a 65-61 loss to the Highlanders.
Altus (6-5) trailed by as much as 12 points but rallied in the second half and when Devin Wilkerson stroked a three point basket the Bulldogs had the lead (55-52) with 4:23 left in the game. Altus relinquished the lead but only momentarily. Nico Maldonado hit a shot from beyond the arc and with 2:23 remaining and Altus led 59-57.
MacArthur tied it on a Bryce Beckert basket with 2:02 left and then Kasen Warren made a free throw to give the Bulldogs a 61-60 lead with 1:40 remaining. Beckett hit another shot to return the lead to MacArthur. Altus turned it over the next three times down the court and the Highlanders ran off four more unanswered points. Trace Cook hit a pair of free throws to give MacArthur a 65-60 margin with 21 seconds left and that was too much for the Bulldogs to overcome.
“It went to the last and when we needed to take care of the ball we turned it over,” Bull said. “At the end it could have gone either way.”
Altus would not have been in the game had it not been for Devin Wilkerson. The 6-0 sophomore poured in 18 points on six three-point field goals.
“I knew he was capable, he just needed to get some varsity experience,” Bull said.
Maldonado was also a main stay in keeping the Altus in the game. He also had 18 points.
All in all it was a good performance for the improving Bulldogs who came close to pulling off an upset against the fifth ranked team in the state.
“If they are the fifth best team, then we’re in pretty good shape. We played a good Chickasha team last week and we’re starting to see we can play with good people. We just have to get over the hump. We’ll get some chances to do that next week,” Bull said.
Bull was referring to the Clester Harrington Shortgrass tournament which begins on Thursday. But before that the Bulldogs travel to play Cache team that has been playing well lately. Cache is 10-3 on the season.
MacArthur 65, Altus 61
Altus - Ybarra 4-0-9, K. Knight 1-0-2, Warren 2-2-6, Wilkerson 6-0-18, M. Knight 2-1-5, Vidot 1-1-3, Maldonado 7-3-18. Totals: 23-7-61. 3 point goals - Wilskerson 6, Ybarra, Maldonado
MacArthur - Williams 2-0-4, Beckert 7-1-16, Pindell 5-2-14, Meisel 2-0-4, Burton 3-2—8, Cook 5-2-15, Clark 1-1-4. Totals 25-8-65. 3 point goals - Beckert, Pindell 2, Cook 3