By Chuck Reherman
Yukon wanted to start the new decade the same way is closed out the old one.
Going 1-0 in their next game.
The Millers have started the 2020 portion of the season off with a 1-0 record and are off to their best start in recent years after posting a 59-52 Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference win over Moore Tuesday night in Yukon.
It was the second straight year the Millers have started off a new year with a win over the Lions, despite giving up a height advantage to Moore.
Yukon overcame a rocky start with strong finish to the first quarter, then took control in the second. YHS never trailed after taking an 18-16 lead 17 seconds into the second quarter.
“I asked the guys early in the game where in Australia, like where is the fire,” YHS head coach Kevin Ritter said. “Why are we in a hurry and what are we running for. We have some success and we want to do things faster and then its like we lose control.
“But, I’ll take a win any night, a one-point win every game no matter who we are playing,” Ritter said. “We have to have better basketball IQ wise. When we have a chance to make run to keep that run going and we didn’t do that tonight. We had a chance to go up by 10 or 12 and we decided to go faster. We will learn from it and go play better next time out.
“It was a good win tonight. We made some runs and hit some big shots, Brayden (Dutton) and Justice (Reister) made some big threes for us to make it a tight game and gave us some momentum.”
The Millers did trail 12-6 midway in the first quarter and was down by six, 16-10 with 1:02 remaining in the opening quarter.
Dutton cut the lead in half with a trey with 38 seconds remaining, then hit a fall away three-pointer at the buzzer that tied the game 16-16.
A baseline jumper from Matt Garza gave Yukon an 18-16 lead 17 seconds into the second quarter and a bucket from Dutton and two Carson Lambakis free throws opened a 22-16 lead 59 seconds into the frame.
A Lambakis trey and a shot in the lane from Colby Baker extended the lead to 29-20 and a trey from Baker pushed the lead to 10, 32-22, with 3:48 left in the half.
Moore did make a late run and the Millers led 36-31 at the intermission.
The Lions made an early third quarter run to close the lead to three, 41-38. The Millers answered with an 8-0 run keyed by a second Baker trey to open a 49-38 lead.
Moore answered with a 7-0 run of their own to cut the lead to 49-45, but free throws from Caimin Raynor and McBrook gave the Millers a seven-point, 54-47 lead with 55 seconds left in the third.
“The big thing tonight was Caimin coming in after not playing the first half and played his butt off in the second half,” Ritter said. “Justice had picked up his fourth foul like a minute into the third quarter and Caimin came in and played well. He made a lot of blocked shots and did a great job on defense and gave us a great presence in the post.
“He was big tonight,” he said. “We talked about being ready to play and he was ready to play. He didn’t play in the first half and a lot of kids would have pouted, but he was ready to go and made some big plays. Justice is one of our better players and he didn’t get to play much of the second half and it was big for Caimin to do that for us.”
Baker led the Miller scoring with 20 points, hitting seven of 12 shots from the floor and three of four at the line. Dutton added 14, Reister nine, Lambakis seven and McBroom five.