“I said from Day 1 that everybody was playing for second place (in 4A),” — Stilwell coach Larry Callison after his team's 80-47 2000 title-game loss.
“Terrence Crawford and Jon Bluitt are my two biggest memories from those teams. Crawford was nearly unstoppable at the high school level. He was the perfect blend of height, athleticism and skill. Even the best 6A teams couldn't stop him — Midwest City included — and Bluitt was so efficient running the point.” — Former Oklahoman sports writer Murray Evans, now the sports information director at Oklahoma Christian.
“We had guys with a tremendous amount of talent, and guys who loved to play the game of basketball.” — McGuinness coach Tondrell Durham.
Coach: Nate Harris
Years of titles: 1984-87
The stars: Melvin Gilliam, Arthur Thomas and Andre Davis starred on the early teams, while Richard Dumas carried the load for the second two title teams with players like Charles Marshall and Jamal West contributing. Gilliam had 31 in the 1985 finals, just months after leading the football team to a state championship.
The competition: Surprisingly, Tulsa Washington played 11 different teams to earn the 12 state tournament victories during the four-peat. Enid was the only team to face the Hornets twice at state. They beat Tulsa McLain, Tulsa Memorial, Edmond and Putnam City North in title games.
Bumps in the road: The Hornets trailed McLain at halftime of the 1984 title game but rallied behind Gilliam and Thomas. They were down nine in the second half to Enid in the 1985 semifinals before winning 75-73. But in the last two seasons, only PC North played the Hornets within 10 points at state.
“Earlier this year when Douglass played Booker T., somebody told me that Booker T. had a 6-6 post. Man, when we played them that was their guards. They were monsters. They weren't only big, but they were athletic. Top to bottom, they had the most physical talent I ever saw.” — Former Douglass coach Willie Kelley.
“Nate (Harris) is similar to Varryl Franklin at Millwood. I know a lot of people say, ‘You've got this guy, you've got that guy, you should win' and I'm not one of those guys that say I didn't have any talent. But the key to making the most of that talent is making them understand that the team is more important and Nate definitely did that.” — Tommy Griffin, former coach at multiple OKC-area schools, now a girls assistant at Midwest City.
“(Edmond coach) Mike de la Garza told me, ‘I always knew they had the best players. I didn't know they worked harder than anybody else.' They didn't always player harder than anybody else, but when it came to the state tournament, they did.” — Former Oklahoman writer Mike Brown, now with the Tulsa World. As the Edmond coach, de la Garza lost to Tulsa Washington 72-56 in the 1986 finals.
Years of titles: 1978-81
Coaches: Eddie Evans (1978-79), Varryl Franklin (1980-81)
The stars: Lorenza Andrews guided the first two title teams, along with the help of others like Joe Carter, who went on to become one of the greatest baseball players the state produced. Later, Paul Clewis, Freddie Moore and Anthony Andrews helped the Falcons finish the four-peat.
The competition: Wewoka was the familiar foe of the championship games, twice meeting Millwood for the gold ball. Otherwise, the Falcons spent much of their season playing the state's best teams from the metro area, like Star Spencer, Southeast and others. The 1978 team lost 11 games, but such was the life of one of the smaller teams in the Capital Conference, now known as the All-City Conference.
Bumps in the road: The Falcons had two narrow escapes in the 1980 state tournament, winning by 64-63 over Fort Gibson in the first round and 63-61 over Clinton in the semifinals. Then in the finals, Millwood missed its first 13 shots before pulling away for a 77-69 win over Wewoka. The 1981 team beat Tecumseh 60-58 in an overtime semifinal matchup. The Falcons' closest title game during the four-peat was 62-58 over Wewoka in 1979.
“Eliminate Millwood from the 3A basketball ranks and Wewoka is in the midst of a dynasty,” — Oklahoman writer Jim Lassiter wrote after the second Millwood-Wewoka championship game in 1980.
“My first year at the paper was 1980, Wayman Tisdale's sophomore year. Neither Millwood nor Booker T. were in the Tournament of Champions but they played at Booker T. on Tuesday before the tournament. Paul Clewis, who was a senior, was the last guy I could remember that got the better of Wayman Tisdale. He pushed Tisdale all over the floor. That team rebounded and shot the ball off the break and they were unbelievable at it.” — Former Oklahoman writer Mike Brown, now with the Tulsa World.
“I have a lot of respect for Chop (Millwood coach Varryl Franklin). Varryl's not a candy-coated type of guy but he gets the most out of his players.” — Tommy Griffin, former coach at multiple OKC-area schools, now a girls assistant at Midwest City.
Years of titles: 1976-79
Coach: Johnnie Johnson
The stars: Players like Eric Gathers, Snake Gressham and Alvin Parker starred on the early teams, with Gathers helping win the first three titles. But the biggest names rose to the top on the 1979 team. Leroy Combs and Kenneth Orange, both of whom played professionally, led the Bobcats to an undefeated record that year, along with a spot on the list of Oklahoma's best basketball teams of all time.
The competition: Twice faced Tulsa Edison in the finals, and defeated Lawton Eisenhower in the 1977 semifinals, a meeting of No. 1 vs. No. 2. But the biggest competition came from Matt Clark-led Southeast in 1978. The Spartans were undefeated when they played Star for the Class 3A title that year.
Bumps in the road: The first title team survived a semifinal clash with Northwest when Parker hit a 20-foot jumper at the buzzer for a 55-54 win. The biggest showdown of the four-year stretch came against Southeast in the 1978 title game, when Julius Boone scored 24 points — including two critical late jumpers — to lead Star to a 61-60 win.
“When you walked into Star Spencer, you were down 10 or 15 points, just because of the aura. They had such a tremendous amount of talent.” — Patrick Cudjoe, Northeast player form 1976-79, now the Star Spencer head coach.
“With the size of that team, and the athletic ability they had, they could really shoot the basketball and they were a great shot-blocking team — I think they could play with any of the other teams (that won four straight). It would be hard to beat those guys, because they had a special chemistry. Some of our practices were better than the games, because the guys from that '79 team, when they were younger, they were competing every day against Eric Gathers and Snake Gressham and those guys.” — Former coach Phil Ingersoll, who was a Star Spencer assistant during the four-peat.