Hooker Bulldogs advance to semifinals with 45-43 win over Talihina, faces Latta Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Yukon High School

Staff Writer


YUKON - Hooker junior Tate Cathcart scored with 15 seconds left to complete a furious fourth quarter rally and give the Bulldogs a 45-43 win over Talihina, Thursday evening in the Class 2A state quarterfinals at Yukon High School. The Bulldogs (26-1) will take on Latta tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. at Yukon in the state semifinals.
“It’s incredible,” said head coach Todd Kerr. “It’s the most amazing thing. It’s a Thursday afternoon, a 4-hour trip, and look at that,” the coach said, motioning to the large Hooker crowd. “It’s unbelievable, blows my mind.”
After Cathcart’s shot, Talihina turned the ball over on the inbounds, and sent Cathcart to the line for the final points of the game.
The Bulldogs entered the fourth quarter with an 8-point deficit after leading 26-20 at the half. The Golden Tigers (22-7) outscored Hooker 16-2 in the third quarter.
Talihina was able to break Hooker’s pressure and take the Bulldogs out of their rhythm.
“The problem in the third quarter was we were impatient on offense, the ball stopped moving and we started forcing shots,” Kerr said. “But because we were forced to take bad shots, it gave them opportunities on the other end.”
Kariim Byrd took control in the third, scoring 10 points for Talihina, and opened the fourth quarter with a steal and basket to give the Golden Tigers a 10-point lead at 39-29.
That’s when Hooker got back in gear.
Jerod Kerr hit a three to bring it to a seven-point game, and Cathcart got a steal and emphatic dunk to make it 39-34. Dawson Metcalf hit two free throws to bring it to within three, and Cathcart hit one from the line to make it a 2-point game.
“Once we got back to moving the basketball and sharing it, then we took care of all that,” Kerr said.
Austin Fenton put Talihina back in front by four, then Kobe Billy put the Tigers up 43-37 with 1:10 to go.
Ethan Parsons nailed a three to bring it to 43-40, but missed the free throw. Cathcart got the offensive rebound, was fouled and made both free throws with 51 seconds to go and Hooker down by one, leading to his game-winning shot.
Talihina led 8-3 at one point in the first quarter, but Kerr and Cathcart tied it. The second quarter saw six lead changes before Cathcart put the Bulldogs up by six at the half.
Cathcart led Hooker with 18 points, Kerr added 12, Dawson Metcalf 6, Garrett Maloney 5 and Parsons 3.