Class B state tournament notebook: No time to celebrate for Burlington

Burlington didn't punch its ticket to the Class B boys state tournament until Wednesday with a 56-38 victory over Mulhall-Orlando in the area consolation finals at Enid.
by Ed Godfrey and Jacob Unruh Published: February 27, 2013
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Big Pasture 6-4 sophomore Cameron Smith is the Rangers' best athlete. He starts at power forward but also is the team's backup point guard and center.

“He facilitates everything,” Gable said. “He is just a super weapon.”

Smith is the brother of 2009 Big Pasture all-state basketball player Trevor Smith, who is now playing for Cameron University.

LOMEGA DUO PROVIDES SCORING

Defending champion Lomega returns this season with two scoring threats in senior Ashley LaGasse and junior Taylor Mendell.

LaGasse surpassed the 2,000-point mark this season, moving into the top-20 all-time of scoring leaders in 5-on-5 girls basketball.

“I wouldn't trade her for anybody else that's in the Class B state tournament, I know that,” Lomega coach Kevin Lewallen said. “Really, for a 5-foot-5 girl, she's as good of scorer I've ever coached. She scores in a lot of ways. She takes it to the basket, shoots the 3, she can do it all.”

She is receiving interest from multiple Division II schools and junior colleges.

LaGasse's season high was 36 this season. However, Mendell topped that when she scored 40 against Burlington.

DEFENSE KEY FOR RED OAK

When the Red Oak girls team fell behind 23-8 to Lomega just six minutes into the area championship game, the Eagles turned to their defense to make the rally.

Red Oak then limited the Raiders to just 29 points the rest of the game, rallying for a 66-52 victory.

“Pressure has been a key for us,” Red Oak coach Casey Butcher said. “We're just playing well right now, and I think they main thing is defense. Defense turns into offense for us.”

The Eagles have not lost since mid-December.

“The Eufaula loss was a big turnaround because they beat us up,” Butcher said. “They physically just whipped us. As a matter of fact, we were down 18 or 19 in the fourth, and I cleared it. I made them sit there and watch it.”

FROM BRAZIL TO THE BIG HOUSE

Fargo's starting center, Pedro Moraes, is a foreign exchange student from Brazil.

The 6-6 Moraes played on club teams in Brazil where perhaps a dozen people might show up to watch, Bearcats coach Brent Caldwell said.

Moraes has been amazed by the crowds at Oklahoma high school basketball games.

“He will look around and say, ‘This is nuts,'” Caldwell said.

Now, Moraes gets to play in the Big House.

Caldwell has been showing him photos of a packed State Fair Arena to try and prepare him for the atmosphere at the state tournament. But Caldwell knows nothing can really prepare Moraes for it.

So far, the large crowds during Fargo's playoff run has energized Moraes, Caldwell said.

“The bigger the environment, the better he plays,” Caldwell said.

Moraes' parents in Brazil have been listening to Fargo's games during the playoffs on the Internet, he said.


by Ed Godfrey
Reporter Sr.
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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by Jacob Unruh
Reporter
Jacob Unruh is a graduate of Northeastern State University. He was born in Cherokee and raised near Vera where he attended Caney Valley High School.During his tenure at NSU, Unruh wrote for The Northeastern (NSU's student newspaper), the...
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