Stoney Newton had spent four years waiting for his chance to play Sequoyah-Tahlequah. The Okemah senior finally got his opportunity in the Class 3A semifinals and he made the most of it. Newton poured in 17 points as Okemah cruised to a 55-35 victory.
Newton grew up planning to attend Sequoyah-Tahlequah, but when he applied to the school just before his freshman year, he was denied.
“I was always supposed to go there,” Newton said. “But I just didn't get accepted. I've wanted to play them ever since that happened. This performance was about motivation, I've been ready for this.”
Okemah coach Kale Simon knew this game was a special one for his senior guard. He believes Newton was the key to victory.
“Stoney is a prideful young man,” Simon said. “His brother went to Sequoyah and this game meant a lot to him. For some reason or another him going to Sequoyah didn't work out. Well, I guess we should say things did work out.
“He performed on the biggest stage today and that's ultimately why the game went the way it did.”
Newton scored 12 of his points in the first half despite frequently checking out with blood on his jersey due to a cut on his hand. He eventually switched jersey numbers in the second quarter from 33 to 42.
Okemah (26-3) also had a big performance from senior Dion Scott who finished with 14 points.
Okemah led 31-19 at halftime, but outscored Sequoyah-Tahlequah 17-5 in the third quarter to open up a 48-24 lead heading into the fourth.
Tyler Jones scored 11 points off the bench to lead Sequoyah-Tahlequah (21-8), as the Indians struggled to find open shots against Okemah's smothering defense.
“They have multiple 3-point shooters that are just unbelievable and we were able to take that away,” Simon said. “We forced them to put the ball on the floor and then we were great helping each other out defense.”