PRYOR—With the post-season right around the corner, the Claremore High School boys’ basketball team is gaining momentum at just the right time.
Buoyed by a a combined 39 points from Caison Hartloff and Bray Glenn, the Class 5A No. 11 Zebras opened a double-digit lead in the second quarter and never looked back in a convincing 63-49 victory against Class 5A No. 8 Pryor Friday night to extend the Zebras’ winning streak to four games.
In girls’ action, Class 5A No. 15 Claremore could not pull a second upset this season against the Class 5A defending state runner-up and fourth-ranked Tigers, falling 49-33 despite a game-high 14 points from Hailey Grant.
With only one week remaining in the regular season, both Claremore squads will wrap up preparations for post-season action with a pair of home games—on Tuesday against Coweta and on Friday against Collinsville.
Claremore 63, Pryor 49 (boys): Hartloff came off the bench to pour in a game-high 24 points, knocking down 6-of-7 3-pointers while being perfect on six free throw attempts, while Glenn added 15 points to spearhead the offense as the Zebras (15-6) claimed the road win at the Burdick Center between the Metro Lakes Conference foes.
“Any time you can go on the road in our conference and get a win, particularly against such a good team as Pryor, you take it,” Claremore Head Coach Tommy Nolan said, whose team has now won seven of its past eight contests.
Hartloff and Glenn were instrumental in helping turn the tide in Claremore’s favor.
After Pryor (15-6) jumped to an early 8-1 advantage, Hartloff canned his first trey of the night to knot the game at 8 late in the first quarter.
Then, with the Tigers leading 16-15, the Zebras went on an 11-0 run to take control. Glenn had back-to-back baskets to start the surge before Hartloff sandwiched a pair of buckets beyond the arc with a Matt Wofford free throw to finish the blitz and put Claremore ahead 26-16 with 3:34 to play before halftime.
Glenn later added a 3-pointer to give the Zebras its biggest lead of the half at 29-18. He had nine points at halftime while Hartloff totaled 12 points by hitting all four of his 3-point attempts.
“We had very good success on offense,” Nolan said. “It was good to see a group of guys score at the same time. And we had people assisting the basketball which is something that we have talked about with the team.”
Claremore took a nine-point lead into the final quarter. With Hartloff connecting on his six free throws—Claremore was 16 of 20 from the line for the game—plus tacking on his final trey of the night, the Zebras led by as many as 16.
The Zebras completed a sweep their two regular-season matchups against the Tigers, which dropped their second straight game after having won five in a row.
‘We are playing well now,” Nolan said. “But we still need to improve our defense, rebounding and taking care of the basketball.”
Levi Easton contributed seven points and five rebounds while Wofford chipped in five points and six boards. Hartloff added five rebounds.
Pryor 49, Claremore 33 (girls): The Zebras (9-12) trailed early 7-2 but stormed back to forge a tie at 7-7 and a final deadlock at 9-9 early in the second quarter on a basket by Abbey Cox.
But with Pryor (16-5) in front 15-14 after a 3-pointer by Sophie Stout, the Tigers unleashed a three-point barrage to end the half with 12 unanswered points. In the second quarter, Pryor swished five treys, including three in a row leading into halftime.
The 13-point deficit proved too much for Claremore, which upset Pryor 43-35 on Dec. 18 on the Zebras home floor.
Grant notched eight of her team’s 11 points in the third quarter but Pryor’s M’Kayla Hillman netted seven as the Tigers opened a 42-25 advantage entering the final period.
Cox added 11 points—seven in the second half—for the Zebras, who have now lost back-to-back contests after a three-game winning streak.
Pryor’s 49 points were divided between its starting five. Rhett Looney had a team-high 12 while Hillman and Kenzie Silkey chipped in 11 each. Hollie Wood scored nine and Rylie Looney tacked on six.