By Zach West
I’ve been involved with small-school state basketball tournaments for nearly 10 years running now, and let me tell you, there aren’t too many days like the day Class B girls had on Thursday at Midwest City High School.
For starters, the day started and ended with huge upsets. In the opening game, Mason — who hadn’t been to the state tournament since 1957 — shocked No. 3 Seiling 35-33. Having seen a lot of small-school blowouts, especially in the opening rounds, I was convinced that would be the best game of the day, hands down.
Boy, was I wrong.
The day closed out with an instant classic, as Vici’s Hannah Guthrie and Kiowa’s Katy Clift staged an epic duel that came down to the last second. Two Guthrie free throws helped Vici finish off Kiowa - the No. 2 team in Class B – by a score of 52-50.
Not only was this a huge upset, but it even had a little controversy thrown in for good measure. After a Clift jumper hit back iron with time winding down (seemingly the only shot she missed all half), Vici’s Jonna Gregory grabbed the rebound, but was then called for traveling. The officials checked with the scorer’s table, however, and determined she grabbed the rebound with 1.4 seconds remaining – meaning that by the time she was called for traveling, the clock had run out. Game over.
Um, needless to say, this did not please the Kiowa faithful, who let out a chorus of disbelief, obscenities and tears. The Vici side, however, erupted in jubilation. Understandable, seeing as how the best season in school history just got extended to the Big House.
Anyways, if those two games weren’t enough for you, the two in between were no slouches themselves. In the first, Tamara Brown helped Sentinel pulled off a semi-upset of Varnum. The same Varnum that beat defending champ Lomega by 20 in its last game. Brown absolutely torched Varnum to the tune of 22 second half points. Not too shabby, eh?
In the third game of the day, unheralded Cyril stood toe-to-toe with the very same Lomega for the better part of three quarters. Remember, Lomega has all starters returning from its state title team. But the upset wasn’t to be, as Lomega showed exactly why it is the defending champ – namely, depth.
Up by only three at the end of the third quarter, Lomega’s Britney Geis – the Raiders’ fifth leading scorer at only four points per game, mind you – drilled a buzzer-beater to stretch the lead to five. Lomega would never look back.
“That was the biggest shot of the game,” Lomega head coach Kevin Lewallen said. “If she misses that, we’re only up by three, and anything can happen.”
Instead, Lomega used that momentum to pull away to a comfortable victory.
Well, that’s a recap of the exciting day of games. If you missed it, well, that’s a shame because it was one heck of a good time.
Here’s some more tidbits that didn’t make it into the paper …
Stuck on the shot clock:
In 23 years of officiating, Rick Bales had never seen anything like it.
In the most amusing moment of the night, a fourth quarter shot by Cyril’s Shelbie Laughlin got stuck between the top of the backboard and the shot clock.
After a few moments of deliberating it was decided that A. the ball was out-of-bounds, and B. the only way to get it out was to knock it out.
So Bales began attempting what seemed like an extremely difficult shot angle. Despite missing badly on his first four attempts, he drilled it on the fifth, popping the ball free and causing the crowd to break out in applause.
“I was just hoping it would come out if I hit it,” Bales said, laughing. “I used to be a pretty good shot.”
A long ways to play Cowgirls and Indians:
While this is strictly an unofficial guess, Vici and Kiowa likely had the longest separation distance of the Class B girls match-ups. The towns are located on opposite sides of the state (Vici – NW, Kiowa SE) and are 268 miles apart, according to mapquest.com — a driving distance of four hours and 17 minutes. Thankfully, they just had to meet in the middle at Midwest City High School.