By Bryce McKinnis
First-year Catoosa head coach Evan Drake had Sand Springs on his mind Thursday ahead of a 69-61 win over the Sandites in the first round of the Port City Classic.
“We lost to them (Sand Springs) by three on this court, first round of Port City last year,” Drake said. “So we got to avenge the lost of last year. . . That’s been a big, big part this week is talking about ‘avenge that loss, protect our home court. It’s our tournament.'”
The win was Catoosa’s first over an opposing 6A team since the Indians defeated Westmoore 51-41 at the Mustang Invitational on Dec. 27, 2019.
“I’m not sure if we’ve ever beat an (Sand Springs head coach) Eric Savage team, so I will take that. I argue that he’s the best coach in the state,” Drake said.
The Indians led most of the game but never had an advantage greater than six point until the fourth quarter.
“The biggest thing for us is we knew it was going to be a dog fight. . . We have to fight ’till the end. Sand Springs will not go away,” Drake said.
An 8-0 run in the last four minutes of the game pushed the Indians to the win.
Junior wing Titus Miller led the Indians with 21 points and 10 rebounds while shooting a perfect 9-9 from the free throw line. He scored six of Catoosa’s first eight. He was the Eyecare of Catoosa Hills Player of the Game.
He (Miller) is our constant. He is the solid that rebounds and scores for us. When his jumper is going, he’s dangerous,” Drake said.
Luke Beauchamp (Jr.) scored 14, Chris Brown (Sr.) scored 12 and Greyson Lewallen (Sr.) had 11.
“I thought Luke Beauchamp was really, really good today as a roll guy. Came in and just played as hard as he could, took the defensive assignments we gave him,” Drake said. “Greyson had struggles a little bit shooting the ball tonight, but he found it there at the end and just turned into a senior leader that figured out ‘Hey, let’s get other guys involved.'”
Catoosa will play the winner of Claremore and Victory Christian in the Port City Classic semifinal game at 5:30 p.m. Friday.