The Cleveland Tigers move on to the Area Tournament this week after becoming Regional Consolation Champions last week.
The team lost in the opening round of districts against #12 Stilwell. The Tigers found themselves down 5 at the half of the very physical game, not able to get to the free throw line. Cleveland had a slim lead briefly in the 3rd, but the Indian defense was relentless. The Tigers fouled a lot late to see if Stilwell would miss free throws but they did not. The game was tied with 5:50 to play. Cleveland missed shots that normally go in for them and came short, with a loss of 61-49.
“Stilwell is by far the most athletic team we have played all year. They are extremely well coached and they have a great chance to go to the state tournament,” commented Coach Daniel Brimmer.
The team headed to Fort Gibson for the 2nd round of Regionals to face a tough and tall Miami team.
“They posed some matchup problems for us. They have several guys over 6’3”,” stated Brimmer. “If you’ve watched us, we go 6’0” and under. That is nothing new, we have guys that compete and are never afraid to mix it up with athletic physical teams.”
Miami played tough, using their length to make Cleveland work hard for buckets. The Tigers got going offensively in the third, extending their lead to 49-39. Defense was good, making the Wardogs work hard in the half court, being sure there were no easy buckets made. Cleveland won 62-54.
Seniors Caden Krotzer and David Edgerton led the team in scoring, as they do most games. Brimmer commented, “Great team game today, we were able to play a lot of kids, they came in and did a great job sustaining the lead.” Zack Baker, Lane Walker, and Dylan Edwards all gave good minutes off the bench.
The Tigers had their biggest win of the year in the final round versus Lincoln Christian, 82-69. “Lincoln plays an extremely tough schedule and they are battle tested, just like us. I knew it was going to be a battle for 32 minutes,” stated Brimmer. “This was the best game of the year for the entire team, even with playing our third game in four days.”
Caden Krotzer led the team, scoring 20 points in the first half and 8 in the second half. Krotzer’s co-star, David Edgerton, took the load in the 2nd half, scoring 20, after scoring 8 in the first half. Both guys ended with 28 for the game. Dakota Cline had one of his better games of the year; attacking the rim, dishing assists to the open guys, and scoring 15 points. Ethan Sizemore is a defensive machine, always assigned to the opponent’s best player. He chipped in 8 points, all coming in transition. Lane Walker did not score but he contributed well, taking two huge charges to help his team seal the deal. “He is the ultimate team player, sacrificing his body for the good of the team,” said Brimmer. Zack Baker rebounded well, took care of the ball, and played great defense.
“Everyone has to play well to make the Area tournament and these guys did just that. I’m extremely proud of them. We play in 4A, widely considered the toughest competition, top to bottom of any class.” This current group now has been to Area 3 years in a row and has had 20 wins in each of those years.
The win moved the Tigers to 20-7 on the year. They will head to the Area Tournament in Skiatook on Thursday at 3 p.m., versus Catoosa.
The Lady Tigers’ season ended after a loss against Wagoner in the opening round of Regionals.