The Wheeler Wildcats and the Kell Longhorns took the court Friday night to decide the 6-6A region champions in a highly anticipated matchup. This was the third time these two teams met this season. Wheeler bested Kell in the two previous games.
This rivalry did not disappoint as both teams were neck-and-neck throughout the entire game.
The game got underway with both teams scoring on their first possession. Wheeler had the size advantage as they got most of their points in the paint in the first quarter. Kell’s offense struggled as they failed to connect on their shots. Wheeler had the lead 13-6 in a low-scoring first quarter.
The Wildcats continued to score easy buckets close to the basket as they got two back-to-back dunks from Max Harris to increase their lead to double digits in the second. The Longhorns called timeout to slow down the Wildcat momentum. Kell proceeded to go on an 8-0 run after the timeout. The Longhorns cut the deficit to just two points as they trailed 28-26 at the end of the first half.
The level of intensity picked up in the second half. Kell offense found its rhythm in the second half as they scored 21 points in the third quarter. Wheeler trailed 47-44 going into the fourth quarter.
Both teams began to make tough shots down the stretch. Neither team could pull away as the lead switched hands in the final minutes of the game. Wheeler had the lead 53-52 with 1:30 left in the game. Kell hit a big three to give them the lead. Wheeler raced down the court and got a layup. Kell had possession of the ball in the closing minute of the game. Kell regained the lead 57-55 after a put-back layup. On the next possession, Wheeler got fouled at the rim. Wheeler tied the game at the free-throw line. Kell had one more chance to win the game at the end of regulation, but the shot was too strong.
The Longhorns got the ball first to start overtime. Both teams made the best of their offensive opportunities as they scored on each possession. The Wildcats would take the lead after a made layup halfway through overtime. The Longhorns hit a corner three-point shot to give them the lead by one 62-61. The Wildcats got fouled and hit 1 of 2 free throws to tie the game at 62. Kell had another chance to win the game at the buzzer, but the shot fell short.
In the second overtime, Kell took advantage of Wheeler’s foul trouble. Kell outscored Wheeler 16-9 in the double overtime to take the win, 78-71.
The Kell Longhorns were crowned 6-6A region champions as they outlasted the Wheeler Wildcats in double overtime.
Wheeler’s Jaheim Hudson dropped 22 points. Kaleb Washington scored 16 points, and Isaiah Collier contributed 11 points.
Kell’s guard Scoot Henderson showed up in the second half and overtime as he scored 23 of his 27 points. Jaylen Harris added 16 points. Both teams now prepare for the 6A state tournament.