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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

Pushed to the edge of defeat on multiple occasions Friday and Saturday night, Millwood always responded, whether it was in the form of tough defense or clutch offense, like the three free throws Cameron Batson hit with seven seconds left in the first overtime to tie the game.

Okemah had the ball for the final shot to win the game at the end of the first two overtimes, but never came away with a clean look.

“After Thursday, we really started to think that maybe we were supposed to win it,” Batson said. “God does things in different ways.”

Drama aside, the gold ball will sit in Millwood's trophy case just the same, alongside 14 others, tying the Falcons with Tulsa Washington for the most in state history.

“This has been wild. It's been a roller coaster,” Millwood senior Chris Crook said. “We've just been having to fight. It's just been crazy. It feels real good though. We worked hard, and now we can call ourselves state champs.”

Hugo's Trey Johnson, the player who mistakenly scored in Millwood's basket at the buzzer to give the Falcons a 38-37 victory, hasn't been forgotten in the process.

“Our prayers are with him and his family,” Franklin said. “I know it's tough, but people are coming together around him. That's Oklahoma. He's got a great coach (Darnell Shanklin) and a supportive program. I know he'll be OK, but our prayers are still with him.”