Stopping Caison Hartloff is no easy task, and McAlester learned that the hard way Saturday afternoon.
Although his team trailed by 10 after one quarter, the 6-foot-5 guard rallied Claremore to a 61-56 victory behind 26 points at the CHS Gym.
Hartloff had 11 points in the first half, but his best work came in the third quarter. He scored 13 points during that frame, including three 3-pointers, to help the Class 5A No. 7 Zebras turn a 30-24 halftime deficit into a 45-39 lead.
The senior managed only two points in the fourth, but Tanner Steidley took care of the rest. Steidley, a junior, scored eight of his 12 points in the final period – including two triples – ensuring Claremore (5-1) increased its winning streak to two games in its first action since Dec. 19 in the Vinita Big Dawg Shoot-Out.
Kort Seidel, a sophomore, added 10 points to finish as the third Zebra in double figures. Drake Roark came close to that mark with eight points.
The Buffaloes didn’t go down without a fight, though.
McAlester, winless on the season at 0-7, won the fourth 17-16 thanks to the contributions of Adante’ Holiman. Holiman, who is entertaining several Division I offers as the 24th-ranked point guard in the country according to ESPN, scored 10 points in the final period after managing only two in the second and third quarter, but it wasn’t enough.
He finished with 31 points after scoring all 19 of the Buffaloes’ first-quarter points, hitting 14-of-15 free throws along the way. Dre Flowers joined Holiman in double figures with 12 points.
Claremore returns home Tuesday for a 7:30 p.m. tip against Coweta.