TULSA — Bishop McGuinness coach Tondrell Durham didn’t bother hiding his displeasure with his team’s performance Thursday night in the first round of the Class 5A boys state basketball tournament.
Durham was pleased that his top-ranked Irish won, but that was where his happiness ended, following a 69-64 victory over No. 8 Del City at the Mabee Center.
“I’m not happy with the way we played. I think we can play better,” Durham said. “Del City threw in a lot of shots. It felt like they hit about 15 3s. That first game is always tough, and the next game will be as tough. Just win and advance, that’s what they say.”
Del City hit 11 3-pointers, with four each from Xavier Hunter and Brett Cannon to help keep the Eagles in the game.
Durham’s concerns have a precedent, too. McGuinness’ last loss came in the area championship game to El Reno, which torched the Irish with outside shooting as well.
“We know if we play the next game like that, it probably won’t end well,” said McGuinness senior Brian Canfield, who led the team with 28 points.
Canfield and Zach Cornelison each made three 3-pointers, and Stephen Amalong added two as the Irish tried to match Del City’s shooters. Cornelison had 14 points and Amalong 12, while 6-foot-8 forward Will Lienhard had eight points, 10 rebounds, eight blocks and five assists.
Freeman finished with 24 points to lead Del City and Cannon had 19.
McGuinness will face the Carl Albert/Tulsa Kelley winner in Friday’s noon semifinal game at the Mabee Center.
Durham knows his team will have to defend more like he expects of them to stay alive this weekend.
“We hit some shots early tonight and that got the score up there,” Durham said. “I’d rather have a 15-13 ballgame with us winning. But it was up there and we got the job done.”