CHOCTAW — Victory Christian’s Chris Crawford reached out and snagged a pass, then laid it in as the third quarter buzzer sounded.
On the surface, it was a simple play, but it sparked a runaway for the Conquerors, who defeated Harrah 64-45 Thursday in the first round of the Class 4A boys state basketball tournament at Choctaw High School.
Crawford’s steal and bucket put the Conquerors on top 41-29 and they pulled away for the easy win, setting up a semifinal showdown with Douglass at 4:30 p.m. Friday at State Fair Arena.
“Those types of plays are momentum-changers,” Victory Christian coach Ryan Wakley said. “Chris made a great read on that and was able to finish it, and it propelled us into the fourth quarter.
“We had played well, just couldn’t get over that hump. That play helped a lot, took the wind out of their sails.”
Crawford finished with a game-high 21 points, mostly coming at the free throw line in the second half. Jeffrey Jordan added 13 for Victory, which improved to 26-2.
Collin Jennings led Harrah with 11 points as the Panthers finished the season at 21-8.
Crawford, only a sophomore, is one of several young players in Wakley’s rotation.
“He made good decisions with the ball. He’s getting better and better over the course of the year,” the coach said. “We didn’t know what to expect this season. As our kids learned to play together, and our young kids adapted to the speed of the game, we began to take steps.
“We’ve had great leadership from our seniors that has enabled us to have the year we’ve had.”