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Class 3A boys basketball: Millwood's Varryl Franklin hopes players take lesson from unlikely title run

For his players, coach Varryl Franklin hopes it becomes more than a wild three-day experience on the basketball court. He wants it to mean something to them beyond the basketball gym.
BY SCOTT WRIGHT Published: March 10, 2013
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photo - Millwood celebrates with the gold ball trophy after the win over Okemah during the state high school basketball tournament Class 3A boys championship game between Millwood High School and Okemah High School at the State Fair Arena on Saturday, March 9, 2013, in Oklahoma City, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Millwood celebrates with the gold ball trophy after the win over Okemah during the state high school basketball tournament Class 3A boys championship game between Millwood High School and Okemah High School at the State Fair Arena on Saturday, March 9, 2013, in Oklahoma City, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Incredible. Improbable. Unbelievable.

Pick your adjective for Millwood's crazy Class 3A basketball championship run.

For his players, coach Varryl Franklin hopes it becomes more than a wild three-day experience on the basketball court. He wants it to mean something to them beyond the basketball gym.

Millwood's state record-tying 15th basketball championship was more bizarre and dramatic than any of the 14 before it — maybe more so than any other championship in any other sport at any other school.

The Falcons would have been eliminated Thursday if not for Hugo's increasingly more famous wrong-basket shot. Then Millwood needed two overtimes and a last-second tip-in to defeat two-time defending Class 3A champion Centennial in Friday's semifinals.

And it took three overtimes to settle the title game Saturday night, with Millwood finally sealing the 59-53 victory over Okemah at State Fair Arena.

The Falcons found Thursday's win hard to wrap their heads around. But ultimately, it gave them a sense of destiny. The gold ball was supposed to be theirs — they just had to go take it.

“We thought we were blessed,” Franklin said. “We had our break, we had our blessing, so now, let's go take care of business. That's the way the kids took it, and I love them so much for that.

“This is a small lesson to learn in a big picture. They've grown from this. They look like their faith has grown so much more. We just hope we can build on that on a personal level, and as students.”

Michael Mays scored 19 points and Ashford Golden had 17 points and 10 rebounds, along with a crucial block late in the third overtime Saturday. Golden also had the tip-in to beat Centennial Friday night.

“God is good, that's all I can say,” Golden said. “This kind of thing pushes you to be the best player you can be. We saw that (Saturday night).”

Millwood's championship destiny actually began to fall into place a week ago, when Mays hit a late 3-pointer that gave the Falcons a 43-40 victory over Stroud in the area championship round — a win that aligned them with Hugo in the bracket for Thursday's first-round game.

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