Longtime Millwood coach Arnelia Spears struggled to find the right words. She even struggled to fight off tears.
But she didn't need to say much.
Instead, she enjoyed the surprise of nearly 300 former players honoring her legendary career on the floor of Franklin-Spears Gymnasium on Tuesday following Millwood's 53-30 victory over the OKC Storm.
“There is no words,” said Spears, who is retiring following the season. “I try to teach my basketball players all the time to just shut up and do it. Actions speak louder than words.
“But nobody's ever surprised me like this. I don't know how they got past me on this, I really don't. Usually I know everything, but this was a big one.”
Spears has been coaching for more than 40 years at Millwood, where she has nearly 800 career wins and three state championships.
The Falcons' gym even carries her name, and Tuesday was her final regular-season game there.
“Coach Spears is just passionate about helping kids,” Millwood athletic director and assistant girls basketball coach Shannon Hayes said. “She loves basketball, her passion for it, her vision and her concepts, they're all in a league of their own.
“Everybody who was here tonight, it lets you know how many people she has impacted over the last 40 years.”
Even as her final season winds down, Spears remains focused on winning one final gold ball.
Tuesday's performance, though, was a display of what the top-ranked Falcons need to work on as they struggled to put away the Storm until the fourth quarter.
“It hasn't been pretty,” Spears said. “They're better, but not to my expectations. We've still got a lot of work to do. Normally they come together at the end, so we'll see.”
Raven Prince scored 25 points for the Falcons. Pae Pae Hawkins scored 14 for the Storm.
PUTNAM NORTH TOPS CHOCTAW IN 4OT
A week after a fourth-quarter collapse against No. 2 Edmond Santa Fe, Putnam North came away with a huge victory.
It just took the total of two games to do so.
The Panthers, ranked No. 11, were able to outlast No. 5 Choctaw in quadruple overtime 66-64.
Senior Sidney Carolina scored 20 points and sophomore London Archer added 14.
Choctaw was led by senior Kiyra Baird, who scored 14 points. Kali McEntee and Ana Llanusa added 10 points apiece.
SMITH'S TREY LIFTS GUTHRIE
Faith Smith saved her best shot for the end, nailing a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift No. 11 Guthrie past No. 10 Chickasha 41-40.
Smith finished with just four points, but her shot gave the Bluejays a much-needed victory as the postseason nears.
Sojourner Love led Guthrie with 20 points, 16 of which came in the second half.
Chickasha sophomore Dominique Golightly finished with 17 points, while teammate Taylor Sylvester added 10 points in the second half.
TUTTLE HOLDS OFF KINGFISHER
Kingfisher's Shalyn Layn did just about everything right in the fourth quarter, scoring 12 points, but Tuttle was able to hold on for a 52-48 victory behind some clutch free-throw shooting.
The Tigers, led by Shelby Carel's 18 points, went 15 of 22 at the line in the fourth.
Layn finished with 19 points for the Yellowjackets.
Madi Brien added 12 points — seven in the fourth from the free-throw line — for the Tigers.
Westmoore's Callie Palmer hit a game-winning jumper at the buzzer to lift the Jaguars past rival Southmoore 57-55. ... Jordan Murphy scored 20 points as McLoud edged Tecumseh 42-36. Tecumseh was led by Sam Schovanec's 17 points and 10 rebounds. ... Andee Decker scored nine points as Edmond Memorial edged Moore 38-36.