DOUGLASS — It was Cory Melton’s world Friday night, and everyone crammed inside Indian Gymnasium were just living in it.
Melton, who wasn’t expected to play this season after a clean break to his fibula over the summer, sank a team-high 35 points to lead the Douglass Indians past the Cushing Bearkats, 65-42.
“(Melton’s) very mature and by far a leader of the team. He’s a fun kid to watch succeed. He’s a fun kid to have around,” said Douglass head coach Vance Dallas.
The win advances the Indians’ record to 19-11 overall, and 5-2 in District 21-2A to hold a firm grasp on the second place in the league. Cushing now stands at 2-5 in district.
Youth has been a factor for Dallas’s team this season, but those in attendance would have thought the Douglass squad was full of seasoned veterans.
Four freshman — Aiden Grammer, Drew Bobo, Jaidyn Davis and Jace Bobo — along with lone sophomore Gentry Thornton, combined for 16 points in the win and have been called upon in big moments throughout the season, Dallas said.
“I ended the game with a more of an experienced group with one freshman on the floor. I told them in the locker room, if you have one freshman in their with experienced kids, he can learn by osmosis almost, being around the other guys. If you have four freshmen out there, they’ve never been in that situation,” Dallas said about preparing the young players for big games.
The Bearkats started the game with a bite, scoring first, courtesy of a three-pointer by Zane Thornton two minutes into the game. Cushing held the Indians scoreless until the 5:38 mark, and ended the opening quarter down by only two.
Asa Dawson, the Bearkats vocal leader, commanded the offense with a team-high 17 points, followed by Thornton with nine points and Will Hobgood and J.T. Garrett with six points apiece.
In the second, the Indians took command with 11-straight points. Of those 11 points, Davis scored seven. The offensive output propelled the Indians to an 18-point lead heading into halftime.