Raucous crowd helps Hustlin’ Harvesters secure third-straight District Championship on Senior Night with 66-63 win
A jam-packed McNeely Fieldhouse provided a true home-court advantage for the Hustlin’ Harvesters on Senior Night as the Pampa Harvesters staved off a late Dalhart rally with a 66-63 win.
“What an atmosphere. We made it a little bit too close, but it got the crowd back into it and they were loud,” head coach Braydon Barker said. “I appreciate everyone’s support and that helped us get over the top for sure. It was good to see McNeely packed.”
The win locks in a third-straight District Championship for the Pampa Harvesters, completing the trifecta in Barker’s third year as head coach and on Senior Night.
“That’s big. A lot of these guys have been on varsity since sophomore year,” Barker said. “To have three district championships, no one can take that away from them. I’m proud of them. These nine have been instrumental for the program. I came here when they were sophomores and they’ve done some really good things for this program. They’ve put us back on the map for Pampa. It’s good to get them three district championships in a row.”
The Harvesters jumped out to a quick 11-2 lead at the 4:30 mark in the first quarter with a pair of buckets, a traditional three-point play and a solid 2-2 from the free throw line from Senior Chase Landers. Senior Jaydon Burnley added a bucket of his own during the run.
Later in the quarter, Landers and senior Tucker Bridwell added to the lead.
“He (Tucker Bridwell) has been playing out of position all year and we’re kind of short on post, so he’s played the four-spot all year, but he’s really a guard,” Barker said. “He gets stuck a lot on the bottom of the zone, but he fights his tail off for us. He’s good down there. He covers the corner real well and he’s just active. That’s what we need.”
Before the end of the quarter Landers hit another basket and free throw to give Pampa the 17-15 lead after one.
Landers continued his scoring with a pair of baskets in the first two minutes, followed by a Burnley score off the steal from senior Jarron Giles.
A Landers three completed seven points in 55 seconds for the Harvesters at the 5:10 tick in the second quarter.
Burnley scored another bucket from a Bridwell steal followed by another fast-break from Landers to put Pampa up 15 at 34-19.
A three from Landers put Pampa up 37-21 with 60 ticks left in the half.
Burnley drained a bucket to start the second half.
Senior Andrew Stevens battled in the paint sinking second-chance buckets to keep Pampa up 10 at 43-33.
Dalhart began battling back and eventually tied it at 47 all before Pampa called a timeout at the 1:34 mark in the third quarter.
“That (the timeout) was to keep our composure. They were hitting shots right before that. That was to shore up our defense a little bit,” Barker said. “They were hitting on the corners hitting threes and we turned the ball over a little too much. They are a good team and we withstood it and came out on top in a crazy game.
Stevens sank another contested basket, but Dalhart took the 50-49 lead into the final quarter.
Landers scored the first points of the final period with a 3-3 performance at the charity stripe followed by a Burnley steal-and-score to take the 54-52 lead.
“He’s (Jaydon Burnley) a pest on defense,” Barker said. “He’s always pressing by himself and making them work for it. He’s got long arms and plays good defense. I was happy to see him make some shots to help us win.”
Landers later knocked in a bucket followed by a three and it was 59-56 Pampa with 3:35 left to play.
The teams continued to trade blows before sophomore Cason Floyd knocked in a three to make it a two-score game at 62-58. Stevens later added a bucket and Floyd went 2-2 from the stripe to give Pampa the 66-63 win.
“In a close game you’ve got to make free throws,” Barker said. “We shoot free throws in practice and we have some really good free throw shooters, 70 to 80 percent most of the time. Cason (Floyd) made 72 in a row in practice the other day. Chase (Landers) is good at knocking them down. In a close game, that’s a big advantage to make free throws like that.”
The Pampa Harvesters returned to action Monday night as the Dumas games were moved a night earlier because of the impending weather.
“It’s going to be tough. That’s always a tough place to play. We had this big game right here and we can’t have a let down. They had an open date Friday so they are going to be fresh. We’ll have the weekend to recoup and we’ll be okay.”
Stat round up
Chase Landers led the team in scoring with 35 points off three threes and was 12-13 in free throws; Jaydon Burnley and Andrew Stevens each had 10 points; Cason Floyd had nine points off a three and was 2-2 in free throws; Tucker Bridwell had two points.
As a team the Harvesters had four three-pointers and went 14-15 (93 percent) from the line.