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2021-22 Mens Basketball Team

Tigers battle valiantly in season-ending 59-52 loss

As they had done in the majority of their games this season, the sixth-seeded Cowley College men's basketball team gave themselves a chance to win Tuesday in its Region VI Tournament Quarterfinal game played at third-seeded Butler Community College in El Dorado, KS. The Tigers trailed by only two points before Jaden Okon's desperation three-pointer with 27 seconds left helped lift the Grizzlies to a 59-52 win.

The 25-foot three-pointer by Okon, which came at the shot clock buzzer, capped a 22-point outing by the 6'4 sophomore.

"We could not have guarded that shot any better," Cowley head coach Donnie Jackson said. "Our guys never gave up, they always battled throughout the season."

Playing his final game in a Tiger uniform, sophomore Clarence King (CK) led all scorers with 28 points on 10-of-17 shooting.

"Clarence and Okon both being Hutchinson (Community College) transfers were going at it back and forth," Jackson said. "Clarence single-handedly kept us in the game. I wish I had another year with CK, he made great strides as a player."

Butler led 32-25 at the end of the first half and stretched its lead to 42-29 following a basket by Okon with 15:27 left to play. However, a 19-4 run by the Tigers put Cowley ahead 48-46 following a baseline jumper by Kennedy Willis with 8:06 remaining.

Unfortunately, the Tigers would score only four points in the final eight minutes as Butler regrouped to pull out the seven-point win.

"Our defense gave us a chance in every game, we just did not have enough juice offensively on Tuesday to go along with CK," Jackson said.

Freshman Xavier Valley (11 points) was the only other Tiger to score in double figures as they finish the season with a record of 16-16.

"The guys trusted me to lead them in my first season and bought into me and my coaching," Jackson said. "We will miss the sophomores (Raishaun Brown, Kennedy Willis, Chris Spenkuch, and King) that made such valuable contributions to the program."

Butler (23-8) advances to face second-seeded Hutchinson Friday at 7 p.m. in the semifinals of the Region VI Tournament played in Salina, KS.

Cowley will now turn its focus to next season and will look to build around players such as Mekhi Cameron (12.7 points), Xavier Valley (9.6 points), and Xavier Washington (6.0 points).

"Those guys will be staples in our program and will fuel us to find a way to win the close games next season," Jackson said.

Box score:

Cowley (52): Mekhi Cameron 1-9 0-0 2, Clarence King 10-17 6-10 28, Xavier Valley 4-11 0-0 11, Kennedy Willis 3-7 1-3 7, Xavier Washington 1-5 0-0 2, Emmanuel Austin 0-1 0-0 0, Christian Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Faustin Phanor 0-0 0-0 0, KJ Spiller 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 20-58 7-14 52.

Butler (59): Treylon Payne 0-7 0-0 0, Eden Holt 1-11 4-4 7, Jaden Okon 9-11 3-6 22, Isaiah Williams 2-7 3-4 7, Marque English 3-9 4-6 11, Keyon Thomas 3-6 0-0 8, Isaac Ondekane 0-3 4-4 4. Totals: 18-54 18-24 59.

Three-pointers: Cowley 5-21 (Valley 3-7, King 2-4, Cameron 0-5, Brown 0-2, Washington 0-2, Austin 0-1), Butler 5-29 (Thomas 2-5, Holt 1-9, English 1-6, Okon 1-2, Payne 0-4, Williams 0-3). Rebounds: Cowley 29 (King 8), Butler 41 (Williams 12). Assists: Cowley 9 (four players with 2), Butler 13 (Payne 6). Turnovers: Cowley 7, Butler 11. Total fouls: Cowley 19, Butler 14. Fouled out: none. Technicals: none.