By Chuck Reherman
When it has come to Bedlam on the Court, Mustang has “ruled the roost” over the past half dozen years.
Yukon changed all that Tuesday night.
The Millers did something they have had trouble with all season and snapped a losing skid to the Broncos, 57-44, in a Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference game Tuesday night in the YHS gym.
The third quarter has been a curse for the Millers during the early part of the season, but Tuesday night, YHS had their break out night in the frame that broke open a close game and sent the Millers to their first conference win.
YHS improved to 2-5, 1-4 in COAC play heading into the holiday break.
The Millers led 26-24 early in the third quarter and had their highest scoring quarter, 21, to open a 47-37 lead.
“Any win in a nice win, we will take any win we can get,” Miller head coach Kevin Ritter said. “We made an adjustment at halftime, we knew Mustang’s head coach Tondrell Durham would throw the kitchen sink at us as far a defense and what they were doing was their two post guys were not guarding anybody. They were in a zone.
“We were trying some things and made it too complicated in the first half and we stuck Tyler (Dechant) in the short corner and he that shot,” he said. “It makes a big difference when someone hits open shot on the defense. Desmon (Elliott) turned in a good job, they rolled in and scored. We can be better, but we are getting better and the good sign as coaches as we are getting better and we have to keep doing that and continue to do that after we come back from Christmas break.”
A driving shot from Carson Lambakis opened the third quarter and Dechant found his shot in the short corner that gave the Millers a 30-24 lead less than a minute into the second half.
Dechant hit two more shots from the spot over the next two minutes to extend the lead to eight, 34-26. Mustang did cut the lead to three, 34-31, but a trey from Carson Price followed up by a Jake Love trey opened a 40-33 lead.
Dechant hit a fourth shot in the frame and a second trey from Price and a free throw opened a 47-35 lead with 1:37 left.
“We did better tonight, they played a little bit different defense, they played more of a get a couple of guys and not guard guys and the teams we have been playing a come and get you defense,” Ritter said. “Our guards did a better job of taking care of the ball.
“Carson (Price) got his confidence back a little bit tonight,” he said. “They played a little bit different, if you watched the first few games everyone knew he was our returning leading scorer and everyone try to take him away. Mustang tried to take him away and other guys were scoring. Carson is really good when he gets out in transition, so if we can get some stops we can see him get out and run. He’s a big enough and hard to get through so he can finish off the break. If there is no one to help, he is hard off the dribble and can make those transition plays. And, he hit a couple of threes on the wing that were big also. I hope it helped him because it will help us a lot with him getting some confidence back.”
Dechant opened the fourth quarter like the third, hitting a shot from the corner that pushed the lead back to 12, 49-37. Mustang got a trey from Cade Schroeder that cut the lead to eight, 49-41, but the Millers went on a 6-0 run that put the game out of reach, 55-41, with 2:56 remaining.
The Millers had their best night of the early season shooting the ball, hitting 19 of 39 shots from the line, including three of five from three-point range. YHS was 12 of 17 from the line.
Mustang did get off 14 more shots than the Millers, but hit only 15 of 53 from the floor and were six of 27 from behind the arc. MHS was six of 13 from the line.
“We made more shots tonight than we have in previous games,” Ritter said. “In the Santa Fe game, we hung around and then didn’t score. In the Deer Creek game we didn’t score in the second quarter. Tonight we hit our shots, Tyler hit his shots and Carson hit shots and it is amazing what happens when you hit your shots.
“Coaching looks a lot different and teams look different when you hit your shots,” he added. “We had been shooting in the 30s, it is hard to win games when you are shooting that way. “A lot of it tonight was we were hitting shots and taking advantage of some of the things they did.”
The Millers took their first lead on a three-point play from Dechant, who scored the first five points of the game, 5-3. Mustang went on an 8-2 run to open an 11-7 lead, but the Millers chipped away at the lead and were down by two, 16-14, heading into the second quarter.
The Millers took the lead for good early in the second quarter on a 6-1 run. Trailing 17-14, Dechant hit a shot in the lane and four free throws from Lambakis made it a 20-17 lead.
A shot in the lane from Elliott opened a 24-21 lead with 2:33 remaining.
Mustang did tie the game on a trey from Schroeder, but a pair of free throws from Christian Naderi with seven seconds left gave the Millers a 26-24 lead at the intermission.
Dechant led the Miller scoring with 19 points, hitting eight of 11 shots from the floor and three of three at the line. Elliott added 11 points on four of eight shots from the floor and three of seven at the line. Price and Lambakis added 10 points each. Schroeder led Mustang with 17.
The Millers return to the court Jan. 4 at Moore.
By Chuck Reherman