By Chuck Reherman
Yukon is looking for that old adage “the third time is a charm” to ring true on Friday night.
That one is the most important meeting of three the Millers will have against Edmond Deer Creek.
YHS opens the class 6A Region 3 Tournament with the No. 12 ranked Antlers (14-9) at 6:30 p.m. at Norman North High School.
The winner advances to the regional final and more importantly to the area tournament the following week.
The Millers, 10-12, lost to the Antlers 59-45 on Feb. 12 and 66-43 back in December.
The Millers head into the regionals after posting a 52-43 win over Mustang to sweep Bedlam on the Court. Deer Creek lost to No. 14 Stillwater 66-53.
“It was good to get into double digit wins going into the regionals,” YHS head coach Kevin Ritter said. “I don’t know how much it will help us going into the regional, except, they play a lot of the same defense as Mustang did.
“They are a higher ranked team and have gotten us a couple of times already,” he said. “We have to make sure it is not three times.”
The Millers did play Deer Creek a closer game the second time out than the first. YHS trailed 26-23 at the half and saw thr Antlers get hot in the second half and pull away.
In the first game, Deer Creek scored the first 12 points of the game and never looked back in rolling to the 23-point lead.
The Millers earned the Bedlam on the court sweep, pulling away from the Broncos in the fourth quarter at the free throw line and on the defensive end.
Desmon Elliott scored seven points in a row that sent the Millers to a 10-point, 48-38 lead with 2:42 remaining and basically put the game out of reach.
“Sweeping Mustang doesn’t happen very often, but any year we will take it,” Ritter said. “We came out like a team that is used to not dealing with success like winning a game against someone and then try and beat them again. First you have learn how to win and then deal with winning.
“We beat them before and we came out like we are good and let them get the lead early,” he said. “but, we played hard in the second half and competed. We just have to make for shots next week.
“We get to take a win into regionals and that is a big key. We have a punchers chance to come out and beat Deer Creek next week.”
The Millers led 39-33 early in the fourth quarter and used a shot from Carson Price to open a 41-33 lead. Mustang made a comeback bid and cut the lead to 41-38.
That’s when Elliott stepped up on both ends. He hit a shot in the lane, added three of four free throws and finished with a bucket to take a 48-38 lead with 2:42 remaining.
Free throws from Price and Lambakis in the final 30 seconds put the game out of reach.
“Desmon is improving, he has had three or four good games lately and it is a good time for us,” Ritter said. “He is being more aggressive and more active on defense. He is playing a lot better and is the reason we are playing a lot better.
“He could have finished a little better tonight, but he had quite a few rebounds,” he said. “He had five or six blocks on that one player alone and could have had about 10 more but their players missed him because they saw him and got intimidated. Hopefully he can do it one more time.”
The Millers trailed Mustang 12-10 early, but used a pair of Price treys and one from Lambakis to open a 24-19 halftime lead. The Millers never trailed in the second half, hitting clutch shots when MHS closed in.
Price led the scoring with 20, Elliott added 13, Brayden Dutton eight and Tyler Dechant seven.
By Chuck Reherman