Okemah’s Austin Guinn nailed a 3-pointer with 37 seconds left in regulation that sent the Class 3A boys championship game to overtime. He wasn’t done.
Guinn hit another game-tying 3-pointer with 25 seconds left in the first overtime. But it was the senior’s lone free throw in double overtime that gave Okemah a 54-53 win in Saturday’s game at State Fair Arena.
“I just prayed to God it was going to go in,” Guinn said. “My teammates got me the ball when I needed it. It feels amazing.”
Okemah coach Kale Simon told his team over and over to trust the process and said he couldn’t watch Guinn walk off the court without a win.
Malcolm Mitchell finished with a team-high 14 points for Centennial, but missed what would’ve been the game-winning layup as the clock ran out in double overtime. Austin Garner finished with 11 points, nine rebounds and four blocks for Centennial.
“He (Guinn) wasn’t going to be denied,” Centennial coach Garrette Mantle said. “I thought our guys played great. We tried everything we could to keep it out of his hands and trap him. He just made big shot after big shot.”
Guinn finished with 30 points, including going six of 12 from both the free-throw line and from behind the arc. This is the first championship for Okemah, which lost in triple overtime to Millwood last year.
“I told them don’t ever forget last year,” Simon said. “A lot of people want to forget it like it never happened. They’ve had that in the back of their mind for a year now.”
Simon worked through a crowd of recent alumni, thanking them for paving the way for this year’s team.
“I just told them they lost a heartbreaker last year but they have paved the way for this accomplishment to take place,” Simon said. “I thanked my guys for committing to excellence everyday.”
Guinn scored the final three points of regulation, all four points in the first overtime and the only point of the second overtime. But he couldn’t thank his teammates enough.
“I got 30 points but that wasn’t all me at all,” Guinn said. “In the second overtime I was telling them, ‘Let’s go get it.’”
Okemah had a halftime lead of just three after Josh Deere hit a buzzer beater to give them a 25-22 edge. But Centennial came out firing in the third quarter to pull ahead by five heading into the fourth.
Mitchell had no points in the first half but was determined to get to the basket, scoring 10 of his 14 in the third quarter. Centennial pulled ahead early in the third and didn’t trail again until the first overtime.
Corneilus McKiver also finished with double-digits for Centennial, scoring 13 points. For Okemah, Ryan Titsworth had nine points, all on 3-point field goals. Guinn was nine of 22 on the day and also led the Panthers in rebounding with nine.