You can’t argue with destiny.
Millwood’s record-tying 15th state championship was its most improbable an unexplainable of all.
The Falcons would have been eliminated Thursday if not for Hugo’s increasingly more famous wrong-basket shot. Then Millwood needed two overtimes and a last-second tip-in to defeat two-time defending Class 3A champion Centennial in Friday’s semifinals.
And it took three overtimes to settle the title game Saturday night, with Millwood finally sealing the 59-53 victory over Okemah at State Fair Arena.
“This has been wild. It’s been a roller-coaster,” Millwood senior Chris Crook said. “We’ve just been having to fight. It’s just been crazy. It feels real good though. We worked hard, and now we can call ourselves state champs.”
Michael Mays scored 19 points and Ashford Golden had 17 points and 10 rebounds — along with a crucial block late in the third overtime — to lift the Falcons (20-9) to the victory.
Golden also had the buzzer-beating tip in to beat Centennial Friday night.
“God is good, that’s all I can say,” Golden said. “This kind of thing pushes you to be the best player you can be. We saw that tonight.”
Okemah’s Austin Guinn scored a game-high 21 points, hitting several clutch shots in the fourth quarter and overtimes before fouling out. Okemah concluded the season at 26-4.
But Millwood always had an answer, whether it was in the form of tough defense or clutch offense, like the three free throws Cameron Batson hit late in the first overtime to tie the game.
Drama aside, the gold ball will sit in Millwood’s trophy case just the same, alongside 14 others, tying the Falcons with Tulsa Washington for the most in state history.
After Thursday’s win, when Hugo’s Trey Johnson mistakenly scored in Millwood’s basket at the buzzer to give the Falcons a 38-37 victory, the team began to wonder if a state championship was its destiny.
Maybe it was just supposed to be this way.
“We thought we were blessed,” coach Varryl Franklin said. “We had our break, we had our blessing, so now, let’s go take care of business. That’s the way the kids took it, and I love them so much for that.”