Bok Cito rallies to three-peat as stickball champions
Bok Cito has captured its third-straight Men’s Division championship in the World Series of Stickball.
Bok Cito overcame a 3-1 halftime deficit to defeat Pearl River 6-5 Saturday night in the men’s finals.
This was the final event of the 71st Choctaw Indian Fair. Four other stickball champions were crowned over the week. Pearl River defeated Bok Cito Ohoyo to claim the women’s championship; Koni Hata defeated Beaver Dam to win the Men’s 35 and over championship; Pearl River beat Beaver Dam to take the Tulli Okchi Ishko (ages 14-17) division; and, Beaver Dam beat Koni Osi to win the Pushmataha (ages 10-13) division.
Bok Cito’s Bracey Bell was selected 2021 MVP of the men’s division tournament.
“Everyone played as one,” said Bok Cito coach Van Morris. “They played as a unit. Luckily, the momentum was still there even though we didn’t play last year because of the pandemic. We were worried about that.
“We have been able to keep everyone together. We won it in 2018, 2019 and now in 2021. These guys have been there before and that helps a lot. Everyone knows what is on the line,” Morris said.
After a scoreless first quarter, Melton Robinson scored to put Bok Cito up 1-0. Pearl River came back in the quarter to score three goals and led 3-1 at the half. Scorers included Frankie Garcia and Jamison ‘Chico’ Gibson.
“We have been down to them before and came back,” Coach Morris said. “We never panicked, not once. We made some good adjustments that we needed to. Our shooters came through and our defenders held it so we could catch up.”
Bell scored twice in the third quarter to tie the game. In the fourth quarter, he scored one goal to give Bok Cito the lead. Bok Cito and Pearl River then exchanged goals, making the score 5-4 with time running out. Bok Cito went up 6-4. Pearl River scored with less than a minute to play and Bok Cito held on for the victory.
Bok Cito defeated Beaver Dam in the semifinals to advance to the finals, while Pearl River defeated Koni Hata.