Donna Dudley recorded every second of Moyers' game in the state high school basketball tournament.
Every historic second.
Every heartbreaking second, too.
On a day when small schools from across the state began the three-day march toward a gold ball, there was only one school making its state tournament debut. Moyers had never sent a team, boys or girls, to state until this season. Everyone from the tiny town in the southeast corner of the state donned their black and gold and made the nearly three-hour trek to the State Fair Arena for the game.
“They're all here,” Dudley said.
She laughed, but she wasn't joking.
Moyers is a one-church community of 300, and while I'm not sure how the math works out, the Tigers had more fans than that at the Big House. Guess that's what happens when you make your first trip to state.
To be fair, though, there were a good number of years where Moyers didn't have a chance to send a team to state.
In 1968, the high school in the once-booming railroad town closed. Enrollment had gotten so low that the community just couldn't justify keeping it open.
Moyers kept open its elementary school, teaching kids from kindergarten through eighth grade, but once the kids reached high school age, they went eight miles down the road to Antlers.
In the late 80s and early 90s, though, the town started talking about reopening the high school. There was no building, so the community would have to pass a bond issue simply to have a high school to reopen.
Many folks were on board.
Others weren't so sure.
The bond issue eventually passed, and in 1992, Moyers welcomed a freshman class for the first time in decades.
“We have grown each year since then,” said Dudley, who has worked in the district for more than two decades and is now the superintendent of Moyers Public Schools.
Nowhere is the district's growth more evident than on the basketball court. When the school reopened, it had a gym that had been built after World War I by the Works Progress Administration. The floor wasn't even regulation size.
They had to remove most of the bleachers just to make the playing surface big enough, but with the change, people sitting in the front row tended to have their feet inbounds.
A decade ago, another bond issue funded the building of a new gym, and slowly but surely, the basketball team improved. After winning only five games three years ago, the boys advanced to the area tournament the past two seasons but fell just short of making it to state.
This season, Moyers crossed that final hurdle and made state.
It was a feel-good story.
Of course, not every one of those has a feel-good ending.
Moyers faced Big Pasture on Thursday afternoon in the Class B quarterfinals, and neither team was ever able to build a double-digit lead. Every scoring run was answered. Every momentum swing was negated.
The final minute of the game was grand. Kyle Doty hit two free throws to give Big Pasture a three-point lead, then Caleb Armstrong hit a shot to cut the lead to one. Taran Knox hit two more free throws for Big Pasture, then Jake Dudley — yes, Donna Dudley's son — hit a three to tie the game.
Donna Dudley jumped up and down, her minicam recording the mayhem.
Then things got really exciting.
Big Pasture's Cameron Smith grabbed a rebound and scored on a putback with only five seconds left. Moyers pushed the ball up court, and with only .3 seconds left, Jake Dudley was fouled.
His first free-throw attempt spun in and out.
He intentionally missed the second, but Big Pasture grabbed the rebound as the buzzer sounded.
Big Pasture 66, Moyers 64.
“They performed very well to be under this pressure of never playing in a place as big as this,” Moyers coach Shane Winter said. “I'm proud of 'em.”
So was everyone else from Moyers.
As the players exited the locker room, most of them wearing ball caps pulled low, fans waited to hug their necks and pat their backs.
Donna Dudley was there, too. Even with the heartache for her town, her school and her son still fresh, she mustered a smile.
“It was a good game,” she said.
History and heartbreak rolled into one.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.