SAPULPA — Lawton MacArthur rode a third-quarter surge to escape Noble's upset bid, beating the Bears 55-44 Thursday in a Class 5A boys' quarterfinal at the Chieftain Center.
The Highlanders (18-8) won only their second state tournament game in school history, and the first since 1996.
“We played a great third quarter defensively, and we needed to, because they played a great first half defensively,” said Lawton MacArthur coach Kevin Harrington.
The Bears (14-14), making just their third-ever state tournament appearance — and their first in 18 years — jumped out to a 5-0 lead, and held a 24-23 advantage at halftime.
Lawton MacArthur (18-8) emerged from the locker room and outscored Noble 15-3 in the third quarter.
“I just felt like we picked up our defensive intensity,” said junior guard Trace Clark, who led Lawton MacArthur with 19 points. “We sped the game up a little bit and played hard. Things started flowing right and the game just took care of itself.”