Poteau seniors want to advance past regionals — hopefully, on to state

Last season, the Class of 2012, who were then juniors, saw its high school basketball season end at the Class 4A Regional Tournament. Now as seniors, they want to make sure that doesn't happen again.“Hopefully, we can get a win,” said senior forward Marshall Jones, whose Pirates will play Checotah at 3 p.m. this afternoon at the Class 4A Regional Tournament in Roland. “I don't want (this afternoon's) game to be my last game. I really want to get our of regionals. I'm looking forward to this weekend.”While the Wildcats may be a beatable foe, the Pirates know they cannot take them lightly, since one more loss will end their season.“They haven't had the best of seasons so far, but that doesn't mean they can't come out and beat us,” senior Wilson Klutts said. “They're going to want to win, too. They're not going to lay down.”The Pirates were put into the loser's bracket of the Class 4A Regional Tournament by losing the district tournament title game 59-49 to the Hilldale Hornets Saturday night at Sherman Floyd Fieldhouse. That loss taught the Pirates a valuable lesson.“We just have to play better, and get on a run,” senior Blake Williams said. “The loss has made it a tougher road for us to get out of regionals and into area.”“You learn from mistakes,” Jones said. “We hope we don't do them again. We just have to go out there and play. The loss taught us how to play hard, because they played harder than we did. We just have to go out there and play hard every time.”For two Pirates, this season has been a unique one. First, for senior Blake Roley, he has only been out about a month due to having “Tommy John” surgery.“I haven't gotten to play much basketball this year,” he said. “It's been a challenge. Stuff I used to do last year, I'd just go ahead and do it. This year, I have to think about it — and I think that's my problem. When I just go play, I'm all right. God gave me an opportunity to play again, so I'm just trying to make the best of it. I'm just going to do what I can to get the team to the next level — and get out of regionals.”For senior Spencer Hall, he sat out the last two seasons since he played as a freshmen. While sitting out two seasons made a “huge difference” for Hall, he just knew he had to come back his senior season.“During off-season, I was playing with them, to try to help them out,” he said. “I ended up liking it.”