Olekaibe scores 50 to power Cimarron-Memorial

Kevin Olekaibe and his Cimarron-Memorial basketball teammates were looking to make a statement Friday night after dropping their season opener the previous night.

Mission accomplished.

Olekaibe scored 50 points to lead the Spartans to an 81-70 road win over Desert Oasis.

“We had a bad game the first game, so we wanted to come out on fire,” Olekaibe said. “It’s all a team effort. They set screens for me.”

The Spartans didn’t start the game strong, turning the ball over on their first three possessions. But Cimarron settled in, and Olekaibe hit a 3-pointer as time expired in the first quarter to tie the game at 15.

He scored 17 points in the second quarter as the Spartans took a 40-34 lead at the break.

“He’s a great player, great shooter, great competitor,” Cimarron coach Steve Boyack said. “He just loves to play, and he’s worked so hard on his game in the offseason. He’s impressed me a lot. It’s good to have him on our side.”

Olekaibe averaged 22.7 points as a junior but might need to do more this season as the only returning starter from last year.

“He had a great year, and he just worked so hard in the offseason to improve his strength and quickness,” Boyack said. “And he was a great shooter, and now he’s even better.”

Desert Oasis led once in the second half at 54-53 after a basket by Cameron Mich’l with 1:36 to go in the third quarter. But a basket by Christian Brown gave the Spartans the lead again, and a tip-in and two free throws by Olekaibe made it 59-54 entering the fourth quarter.

“I felt good. I stretched well and had a good warm-up,” said Olekaibe, who was 15-for-32 from the field and 16-for-20 on free throws. “My teammates were behind me. It was them giving me the ball.”

Nick Cruz led Desert Oasis with 18 points. Mich’l scored 15 points and Cameron Jefferson 13 for the Diamondbacks.

Contact Prep Sports Editor Damon Seiters at dseiters@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4587.

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