Burlington didn't punch its ticket to the Class B boys state tournament until Wednesday with a 56-38 victory over Mulhall-Orlando in the area consolation finals at Enid.
The conclusion of the tournament had to be delayed four days because of the blizzard that buried as much as two feet of snow in northwest Oklahoma.
The final games were moved from Cleveland to Enid because it was closer to the four schools left in the tournament.
“There was no trophy presentation (Wednesday) because the trophy was still in Cleveland,” Burlington coach Randy Turney.
After Wednesday afternoon's game, Turney took his team to McDonald's in Enid for dinner, then they drove to Burlington and held an 8 p.m. practice to get ready for a 3:30 p.m. state tournament opener on Thursday against Arnett.
Burlington's bus for Oklahoma City was scheduled to depart at 9 a.m. Thursday.
“We won't have a chance to get nervous that way,” Turney said.
BARRIOS TO PLAY WITH MASK
Hammon's Kori Barrios didn't even let a broken nose keep her off the floor in the area championship game.
Barrios, a 5-foot-8 senior, suffered the injury early in Friday's overtime win against Erick, but returned in overtime wearing a mask to help the Warriors return to the state tournament after finishing as the runner-up the past two seasons.
“That just shows what kind of kid she is,” Hammon coach Lance Carpenter said. “She was more concerned about the team winning than she was her nose.
“I could tell when they walked back on the floor, Peyton (Walker) gave her a high-five and they had a big smile on her face. They knew the group was back together.”
Walker and Barrios are also the pitcher and catcher for the softball team, and AAU teammates.
Walker will play on Thursday in Hammon's game against Deer Creek-Lamont, and she will be wearing a mask.
“Korie's a very, very tough kid,” Carpenter said. “We had her all checked out and she passed every concussion test that she went through.
“Throughout overtime (assistant coach) Josh Trent asked during each timeout (how she felt). Third time you could tell she was aggravated about it.”
COACH THANKFUL FOR A LOSS
The Big Pasture boys basketball team has won 26 consecutive games after losing to Chattanooga, 58-50, in the second game of the season. The Rangers missed 18 free throws in the game.
Big Pasture coach Nick Gable said the loss was a blessing in disguise.
“I am sure glad we lost that game,” he said. “It really got us going. We really took off after that.”
Big Pasture 6-4 sophomore Cameron Smith is the Rangers' best athlete. He starts at power forward but also is the team's backup point guard and center.
“He facilitates everything,” Gable said. “He is just a super weapon.”
Smith is the brother of 2009 Big Pasture all-state basketball player Trevor Smith, who is now playing for Cameron University.
LOMEGA DUO PROVIDES SCORING
Defending champion Lomega returns this season with two scoring threats in senior Ashley LaGasse and junior Taylor Mendell.
LaGasse surpassed the 2,000-point mark this season, moving into the top-20 all-time of scoring leaders in 5-on-5 girls basketball.
“I wouldn't trade her for anybody else that's in the Class B state tournament, I know that,” Lomega coach Kevin Lewallen said. “Really, for a 5-foot-5 girl, she's as good of scorer I've ever coached. She scores in a lot of ways. She takes it to the basket, shoots the 3, she can do it all.”
She is receiving interest from multiple Division II schools and junior colleges.
LaGasse's season high was 36 this season. However, Mendell topped that when she scored 40 against Burlington.
DEFENSE KEY FOR RED OAK
When the Red Oak girls team fell behind 23-8 to Lomega just six minutes into the area championship game, the Eagles turned to their defense to make the rally.
Red Oak then limited the Raiders to just 29 points the rest of the game, rallying for a 66-52 victory.
“Pressure has been a key for us,” Red Oak coach Casey Butcher said. “We're just playing well right now, and I think they main thing is defense. Defense turns into offense for us.”
The Eagles have not lost since mid-December.
“The Eufaula loss was a big turnaround because they beat us up,” Butcher said. “They physically just whipped us. As a matter of fact, we were down 18 or 19 in the fourth, and I cleared it. I made them sit there and watch it.”
FROM BRAZIL TO THE BIG HOUSE
Fargo's starting center, Pedro Moraes, is a foreign exchange student from Brazil.
The 6-6 Moraes played on club teams in Brazil where perhaps a dozen people might show up to watch, Bearcats coach Brent Caldwell said.
Moraes has been amazed by the crowds at Oklahoma high school basketball games.
“He will look around and say, ‘This is nuts,'” Caldwell said.
Now, Moraes gets to play in the Big House.
Caldwell has been showing him photos of a packed State Fair Arena to try and prepare him for the atmosphere at the state tournament. But Caldwell knows nothing can really prepare Moraes for it.
So far, the large crowds during Fargo's playoff run has energized Moraes, Caldwell said.
“The bigger the environment, the better he plays,” Caldwell said.
Moraes' parents in Brazil have been listening to Fargo's games during the playoffs on the Internet, he said.