Saturday marked the end of a big basketball tournament week across the Oklahoma City area and state.
Here's what The Oklahoman's staff learned from championship games across the city:
Boys: Carl Albert 41, Norman 38
Ryan Reynolds wasn’t going to let the opportunity pass him by.
As one of the best spot-up shooters on the team, Carl Albert coach Jay Price put Reynolds and Mason Novotny in the corners, expecting for his point guard Tashawn James to get double-teamed. Price knew if it happened, one of his shooters would be open.
Reynolds set his feet and launched the 3-pointer that fell through the cylinder. The left-handed sophomore held his hand high in the air as the student section jumped with joy behind him.
Reynolds hadn’t attempted a field goal throughout the game but that didn’t waiver his confidence to take a shot in the biggest moment, which put Carl Albert on the top for just the second time.
“I feel confident that anybody on the team can make that shot,” Reynolds said. “But I’m thankful that it was me. It felt like an out-of-body experience. It was crazy.”
Final: Ryan Reynolds makes the 3-pointer and Carl Albert wins 41-38. pic.twitter.com/wc89lAuqGt
— James D. Jackson (@JamesDJackson15) January 23, 2022
Reynolds’ shot in the final seconds lifted Carl Albert to a 41-38 win over Norman to win the Titan Classic championship Saturday night. Reynolds, who had only made one appearance in the second quarter, made his only shot of the night when Carl Albert needed it most.
“What a huge make,” Price said. “That’s incredible for him a sophomore kid stepping up making a big shot like that.”
Before Reynolds’ shot, Carl Albert had one lead of the game after a solo free throw from Jayden Mott in the first quarter. Norman’s Trashaun Combs-Pierce answered with a free-throw of his own and the score remained at 1-1 until 1:18 was left on the first-quarter clock as both teams could not make a basket.
While Carl Albert continued to struggle from the field, Norman found its rhythm, ending the first half with a 25-12 lead.
“A lot of it was just our demeanor,” Price said of the sluggish start. “We were just playing scared which is typical for a young team. We just weren’t playing with the intensity like, ‘We want to come win’. It was ‘We’re scared to lose,’ and you can’t have that mentality and win a championship and we just talked about picking up the intensity and moving more on offense.”
Carl Albert came out in the second half looking like a different team and Quincy Hopkins played a big part in the Titan offense. Hopkins scored 15 of his 21 points in the final two quarters and the defense responded off his production. Carl Albert held Norman to just three points in the final quarter to storm back with James making two crucial blocks at the rim.
“I thought defensively we were tremendous in the second half,” Price said. “So that was the difference for us.”
Girls: Edmond Memorial 68, Carl Albert 49
Baylor Franz drove down the floor on the fast break and watched as two Carl Albert defenders prepared to double team her.
Franz quickly threw a two-handed pass that split the defenders, flying just by the ear of one Titan. The Edmond Memorial crowd yelled in astonishment as the pass met Lexi Hensley on the other side of the painted area, who laid it up for the easy score.
Everything was working for Edmond Memorial and the skillset of star junior point guard was on full display.
Edmond Memorial bested Carl Albert 68-49 to take home the Titan Classic championship. Franz, who earned tournament Most Valuable Player had scored 32 points the night before, but on Saturday she took control of the playmaking and it worked wonders.
“There’s not a player like her in the state I don’t think,” Edmond Memorial coach Rachel Crabaugh said. “(Franz) just leads the team with so much heart. Lexi (Hensley) stepped up this weekend with two really big defensive games, they just play team ball. It’s good to get some momentum heading into this final stretch.”
Edmond Memorial jumped off to a very hot start scoring 20 points in the first quarter while holding Carl Albert to just nine. It continued in the second quarter as Memorial again held the Titans below double-digit scoring to end the first half with a 36-18 lead.
Carl Albert made an attempt to come back in the second half, scoring 19 points in the third quarter but it just couldn’t overcome the hole it dug itself in. Carl Albert’s Ariana Diaz finished with a team-high 15 points and Maraia Taylor totaled 12 in the effort.
On the other end, Edmond Memorial’s Franz turned in 18 points with AuShae Farris scoring 15 to lead to the win. Crabaugh liked what she saw out of the Bulldogs and said they're playing some of thier best basketball at the right time of the season.
“We have a big week,” Crabaugh said. “We play Edmond Santa Fe and Stillwater this week. All of us are very neck-and-neck in rankings so we need to take care of business this week. So going from a win to a big week is kind of necessary.”
Bruce Gray Invitational
Boys: Midwest City 38, Edmond Memorial 36
There was no one around Jacobi Sebock.
Midwest City’s senior guard caught the pass on the wing, and no defender was close. He stepped into his 3-pointer, and the crowd went silent as the ball floated through the air.
Nothing but net.
Sebock’s 3-pointer with 3.7 seconds left, gave Class 5A No. 9 Midwest City a 38-36 win over 6A No. 3 Edmond Memorial in the championship game of the Bruce Gray Invitational on Saturday at Deer Creek High School in Edmond.
Sebock, who also blocked the final shot attempt, was spectacular. He finished with 14 points and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
“I just saw a wide-open shot,” Sebock said. “I just shot it, and it went in.”
Midwest City’s win came in a back-and-forth contest that neither team was able to get a big advantage in.
Edmond Memorial led by five after the opening quarter, but the Bombers (10-6 overall) won the next three periods. In the second and fourth quarters, Midwest City held Edmond Memorial to five points.
Ronnie Thomas was also electric for Midwest City, scoring eight points in the third quarter to help close the gap to one entering the final quarter.
Edmond Memorial senior JV Seat, who led all scorers with 19 points, had a big basket and free throws in the fourth quarter to give the Bulldogs the lead back, but Sebock’s 3-pointer was enough to help Midwest City win.
Girls: Norman 59, Stillwater 43
The Norman girls basketball team is starting to find its identity.
Last season, the Tigers’ rolled to a Class 6A state championship and didn’t lose a game. This year, Norman has faced different challenges with a new head coach, new crop of players and dealing with injuries and others missing games because of COVID. Yet Saturday during the championship game of the Bruce Gray Invitational, Norman clicked.
The seventh-ranked Tigers topped No. 17 Stillwater 59-43 at Deer Creek for the title, and they used a stellar second-half performance to come away victorious. Norman allowed only four points in the third quarter and outscored the Pioneers 30-16 in the second half.
“We decided we were going to do things correctly in the second half defensively,” Norman coach Frankie Parks said. “We weren’t going to let them dictate what was going on. They came out focused on that, and that was a big difference for us.”
Jordyn Rollins led Norman with 16 points while Aaliyah Henderson scored 15.
Stillwater led after the first quarter, but Norman’s full-court press forced early turnovers in the second, and the Tigers took advantage, gaining the lead. Foul trouble limited both teams in the end of the first half, but as the second half started, Norman’s defense took over. Henderson, Seleh Harmon and Kaylyn Simmons were strong on defense, forcing numerous Stillwater mistakes.
Henderson scored six points in the third while Rollins added four. Both were named to the All-Tournament team for Norman (12-3 overall), and Henderson won Most Valuable Player honors.
For Stillwater (7-8), which will face Norman again Tuesday, Chrissen Harland had 16 points. Star freshman Janiyah Williams was held to seven points.
Cashion County Line
Boys: Dale 48, Cashion 34
Dayton Forsythe crossed to his left hand as he passed half court.
He picked up his dribble and stepped into an open 3-point shot. Cashion’s defense was retreating, so Dale’s sophomore guard used that to his advantage.
In one swift motion, he flicked his wrist and held a pose. The shot fell through, and it was a dagger.
Class 2A top-ranked Dale beat No. 2 Cashion 48-34 to win the Cashion County Line Tournament on Saturday. Forsythe showed why he is one of the top guards in the state.
“Your really good players make everyone around them better, and that’s what he does,” Dale coach Jeff Edmonson said. “Not only is he a great player, but he makes everyone around him better, too.”
Forsythe finished with 17 points, but his great fourth quarter was why Dale (16-1 overall) pulled away for a comfortable win.
He scored or assisted on every basket in the final frame, scoring nine points and tallying four assists. His passing was great, finding Jeff Higdon for four easy layups as Dale pulled away.
Cashion’s Vance Raney scored 18 points and hita trio of 3s, but the Wildcats' offense couldn’t find ways to penetrate Dale, which increased its lead by three after the first three quarters. Jonah Jenkins, one of Cashion’s top players, remains sidelined with an injury, but Dale’s defense proved too tough.
Higdon added 13 points while Deken Jones tallied six for Dale. Landon Lagasse added nine points for Cashion (11-4).
The two teams will meet again Feb. 14 in Cashion in the final game before playoffs begin. But Saturday went to the Pirates.
“I’m real proud of these guys,” Edmonson said.
This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: What we learned from Saturday's basketball tournament championships