Class B: Arnett returns to the Big House, but this time it's for boys basketball

The Class B school is known for its success in baseball and girls basketball. Now, the boys basketball team tries to add to the school's collection of state tournament trophies.
by Berry Tramel Published: March 1, 2012

MIDWEST CITY — Arnett High School students knew something was different this week when they walked into Dick Kauk's math class.

Black and gold balloons decorated the walls normally reserved for isosceles triangles and linear equations.

“He tries to keep it simple pretty much all the time,” said senior Cody Hunter.

Arnett has made 12 straight baseball state tournaments, and its girls basketball team has made 10 state tournaments, including this one, winning state titles in 1990 and 1999.

But the balloons came out in Mr. Kauk's class when the boys basketball team joined the fun.

The fun reached its zenith Thursday night, when Arnett's boys blitzed neighboring Fargo 79-36 in the first round of the Class B state tournament at Carl Albert Fieldhouse.

“It's amazing,” said senior Corey Miller. “Surreal would be the word to use. Arnett's always been a baseball town. I never really thought about basketball.”

Arnett's boys are thinking basketball now. They are headed to the Big House to play Kinta at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the state semifinals.

For decades, Arnett boys have been coming to Oklahoma City for the small-school state basketball tournament. Always to watch, either their girls team or one of the other northwestern Oklahoma hamlets that make State Fair Arena their Valhalla.

Thursday, the Arnett boys watched again, sitting in the bleachers at Choctaw High School as their girls team lost to Hammon.

And then the Arnett boys boarded a bus for the six-mile drive to Carl Albert, put on their black jerseys and lived out a dream.

“Glad we'll finally get to experience the feeling,” said Arnett senior Jason Johnson. “Always wanted to.”

Johnson did his part Thursday, sinking five 3-pointers in the first quarter alone and finishing with 34 points.

“Pandemonium” is how 70-year-old Jerry Knowles, a former Arnett coach and administrator, described the week in his lifelong home. Knowles couldn't even remember Arnett ever winning a game in the Area Tournament before this season.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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