GORE – The Gore Pirates put on a final period rally but fell just short of the Liberty Tigers and move to the consolation bracket of the 2023 OSSAA playoffs.

It all started well for the Pirates who jumped out to a 9-0 lead thanks to two 3-pointers from Jackson Duke and another from Ben Kirkpatrick, however by the time the period ended Liberty would close the gap to 3 points 17-14 largely thanks to the 9 point opening period effort from Jarren Cargil. Cargil would go on to the game’s top scorer with 25 points total.

By the half rolls were reversed as the Tigers would go to the break leading by 5 points 29-24.

The third period was more of the same for Liberty. They opened up a 13-point lead 49-36 by the end of the third quarter.

In the final period the Pirates responded with a 12-point run to close the gap to 1 point (49-48) but that’s as close as they could get. The final 3:55 of the game remained within a point in a back and forth battle with the Tigers coming out on top 62-61 in spite of Gore outscoring Liberty 25-18 in the final period.

All five starters were in double figures for the Pirates. Kirkpatrick was high with 18 points, followed by Journey shells with 12, Noah Cooper with 11 and Jackson Duke and Kegan Reed both with 10 points.

For Liberty Cargil was high with 25 followed by Trent Thompson with 17 points and Jaylen Weeler with 10 points.

The Tigers (19-5) will be back on the court at Indianola Saturday to face #2 Rattan (23-3) at 7:30 in the regional final. The Pirates (16-4) will have to face Wright City (18-9) Friday at 7:30, also at Indianola. Gore will have to win there next two games, both at Indianola, to get to the Area portion of the playoffs to be played at Wilburton.

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