TULSA — The final, and perhaps finest, play in Courtney Walker’s legendary high school basketball career began with Walker falling to the Mabee Center floor, and climaxed with her about two feet in the air, securing Edmond Santa Fe’s 44-41 win and second straight state championship.
With 16 seconds left on the clock and Edmond Santa Fe clinging to a one-point lead over archrival Edmond Memorial in the Class 6A title game, Walker tripped near midcourt coming off a screen.
She picked herself up, ran toward the baseline and snuck through the key to meet Alie Decker, the Bulldogs’ senior leader, face-to-face one last time.
Just as Decker released a potential game-winning lay-up, Walker left the floor and swatted the ball away with her right hand.
“(Walker) looked like a WNBA player going up for that block,” said Edmond Santa Fe coach Paul Bass.
She chased her own block to keep it from going out of bounds, was fouled and sunk two free throws to seal the win.
Walker, Oklahoma’s Gatorade Player of the Year who has signed with Texas A&M, finished her high school career with 22 points, six rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
Edmond Memorial led at halftime and played with tremendous energy as it sought its first win over Edmond Santa Fe since Jan. 27, 2009.
But, just as she did in Friday’s come-from-behind semifinal win over Midwest City, Walker came through in the clutch for her team when it was down.
With under four minutes left in the third quarter and Edmond Santa Fe down 28-27, Wolves’ guard Cameerah Graves missed a 3-point attempt. Walker grabbed the rebound in the lane, surrounded by Memorial players, converted the putback and was fouled. After the 3-point play, Edmond Santa Fe never lost the lead.
“We needed to make a push early,” Walker said of the third quarter, during which she scored 11 points. “We really focused on coming out of the locker room ready to go.”
Edmond Memorial didn’t go away, though. The Bulldogs lost their previous two games to Edmond Santa Fe this season by 26 and 15 points.
“They were not going to let that happen today,” Edmond Memorial coach Dandy Peeler said of her team.
“It’s tough to get beat in a state championship game, especially by your crosstown rival, but it says a lot about our seniors, especially, that we were able to get here.”
On that final play, Edmond Santa Fe’s goal was to keep the ball out of Decker’s hands.
“We knew (Decker) was gonna have the ball at the end,” Bass said. “We tried our best to keep her from getting it, but she got it.”
It’s fitting that she did.
“(Decker) is the top player on their team, and Courtney’s the top player on our team,” said Santa Fe senior Daisha Gonzaque. “They’re two of the best in the state.
“For them to go head to head at the end ... that was crazy.”