With a lineup full of new starters, defending Class 5A champion McGuinness has gradually climbed up the rankings, and on Saturday night, the Irish showed that this is officially a reloading year, not a rebuilding year.
With yet another strong defensive performance, McGuinness defeated Class 6A No. 9 Edmond North 56-42 in the finals of the McGuinness Classic.
Senior David Love scored 15 points, sophomore Will Lienhard had 14 and junior Stephen Amalong added 12 for the Irish, who improved to 10-2 on the season — but undefeated against in-state competition.
Defense keyed the title run. McGuinness allowed 29.7 points per game in the three contests.
“Just a good ol' blue-collar team,” McGuinness coach Tondrell Durham said. “Last year, we had some seniors who were some pretty good scorers. This year, we've got a complete team. Nobody cares who scores and they play hard defensively.”
The game was tight all the way through, but McGuinness was able to close it with a 12-5 run to put it away.
Carlbe Ervin led Edmond North with 16 points.
MIDWEST CITY ROLLS TO TITLE
Top-ranked Midwest City scored the first 15 points of the game, and by the middle of the first quarter, little doubt remained in the Putnam City Invitational championship game.
Lawton Eisenhower kept it respectable but never threatened the Bombers, who cruised to a 68-47 win at Putnam City North.
Cornell Neal had 15 of his 19 points in the first half, including three 3-pointers. The Midwest City defense caused constant frustration for the Eagles and created several easy Bomber baskets.
A night after surviving with a 63-62 overtime win against Putnam City West, everything was clicking for Midwest City in the finals.
“When we hook up on defense, this is exactly what happens,” Neal said. “This is what we can do when we work on defense, block out, rebound and run.”
The Bombers have been playing like the best team in the state, but Neal says the team has to be mentally mature to keep the momentum going into March.
“We can't get a big head about being No. 1,” he said. “We've got to keep getting better every day in practice as we move along.”
Dominique Pierre had 24 points, scoring 14 of Lawton Ike's 16 first-half points.
Evan Anderson scored 28 points and Dale won the Konowa Tournament with a 57-42 victory over Konowa. ... Class 2A No. 1 Northeast defeated Stroud 37-31 to win the Stroud 66 Coliseum Classic. ... The championship game of Bethel's CD Warehouse Classic between Byng and Heritage Hall was postponed until Thursday at a time to be announced because of impending weather and travel concerns.