COWETA — The Claremore Zebras tipped off their 2017-18 basketball season Tuesday night with Metro Lakes Conference rival Coweta with a split of decisions.
The Lady Zebras presented their first year coach Whitney Jones with a 57-47 victory. It appeared the Claremore boys were headed for success also, only to go flat at the start of the final quarter. The result was a 60-56 win for the host Tigers.
It was the season opener for both schools.
Disregarding the gender factor, both games took on an eerie resemblance. Only the endings were different. Having a host of new starters on all four teams, solid plays and mistakes highlighted the outcomes.
Claremore girls 57, Coweta 47 — The girls’ game was a battle of turnovers (26) by Claremore against missed 3-point attempts (21 of 26) by the Lady Tigers. The clincher was the Claremore girls won by refusing to let the opponent come back in the final three minutes.
Claremore had control of the game, up 43-29 as the fourth quarter started. Behind sparkplug sophomore Andra Wheat, the hosts managed to pull to within 52-47 with a minute remaining.
The Lady Zebras slammed the door when Breanna Farmer nailed four free throws and Abbey Cox added another.
Cox with 16 points, Farmer with 14, and Lauren Hardage’s 11 provided the majority of the offense for Claremore.
Wheat led the Lady Tigers with 14 points.
Coweta boys 60, Claremore 56 — In the boys’ nightcap, the Tigers opened the final quarter on a roll. Makhi Jacobs hit a three-pointer to knot the score at 40. Coweta’s edge increased to seven points with 3:58 to play.
Layton Hartloff and P-Bo Wood stepped up with six concessive Zebra points to cut the gap 52-51 and put their team back within easy reach.
Three rushed three-point shots followed by Claremore and each missed. Still a Caison Hartloff layup with 32 seconds remaining had the Zebra close at 58-56.
Coweta’s final two points came at the free throw line.
Tiger Garvin Underwood led all players with 19 points. Three others had double figures in the winning effort.
Claremore was led by the Hartloff brothers. Layton finished with 18 points and Caison with 14.