Friday’s regional high school basketball competition produced a stunning head spinner that spread across the Class 2A landscape with a seismic jolt.
Below are summaries of the region’s competitions.
Boys: Nowata 55, Oklahoma Union 30
The boys’ basketball team at Nowata High pumped their emotional fuel tank full of intensity on Friday night.
Iron Man felt disrespected, belittled, and just plain rowdy about visiting Oklahoma’s Union High, the defending Class 2A state champion.
On paper, the Oklahoma Union emerged as the favorite. Nowata has eaten loss after loss the past few years against the Cougars.
But, Nowata is adamant that it won’t happen again, at least not on Friday.
Nowata walks in with a barrage of three-point shots and pressure on the second-half defense, with a 55-30 homecoming win and a rare win over Noat County boys’ basketball.
“We defended really well,” said Nathan Smith, coach of Nawata. “Keeping them to 30 is a huge thing for us. They are No. 2 in the state for a reason. Our guys came out with a chip on their shoulders. They really wanted it, really bad.”
It wasn’t just the confrontation between rivalries that ignited the fires of Iron Man.
They also wanted to burn a new kind of awareness into the minds of OSSAA polling voters.
Last week, the Ironman racked up seven straight wins and boasted one of the highest records in the state of 8-2.
But they couldn’t break into the top 20, while the Oklahoma League sat in second.
“Our lack of rating is what drove our guys,” Smith said. “Our guys used it on Tuesday night (against Kani Valley) and really tonight. It was a huge motivating factor for our guys. … I think our guys really thought they could win.”
Jess Thompson scored 20 points to lead the balanced scoring sheet, which also included Skylar Stevens, 12 points; James Ewers, 11 years old; and Caleb Bashford, 10.
Thompson and Stevens dropped five and three throws, respectively, in the first inning to help cement Nowata’s lead to 29-19.
Nawata completely dominated in the third quarter to go up by 23 points, 48-25.
“It really stretched it out,” Smith said. “I told my guys in the first half that we have to keep our feet on the gas. …Spread the ball around. I think we played as a team. Nobody did it tonight. We did it together.”
Girls: Nowata 41, Oklahoma Union 37
This was a long time coming in a series that had been a one-sided domination for a few years by the Oklahoma League.
Nowata led early 7-0 and 11-1, eventually giving up the lead and returning with a free throw in the fourth quarter to take the win.
“It was a good idea, especially to be able to do it at Nouata,” said Nouata coach David Fan, who has never beaten Oklahoma Union during his years at Dewey and Noata. “To beat Oklahoma Union High School, it was a big win.”
MacKenzie Barnes scored 23 points, including more than a dozen free throws, to lead the way.
Ty Brown, Kennedy Noble and Maddie Barnes also contributed points.
“No disrespect for the Oklahoma League but for some reason they weren’t quite as good as they were last year,” Fan said. “I think they missed a lot of free throws. They missed a lot of open three-pointers at a stretch.”
Of course, at least part of that was due to Nawata’s swarming defense.
The Lady Ironmen used the 1-2-2 zone in almost the entire game.
“Once we got the lead, we just stayed with it,” Fan said. “We did not collapse. We never gave up. For the most part I am proud of them.”
Boys: Kanye Valley 59, Dewey 55
Daniel Parham made a free throw in the last 10 seconds to seal the story of Kanye Valley’s victory at Troy.
Prior to that, Dewey rose from 51 to 39 down to and last in three points, 58-55 — a streak of 16-7.
But, having already suffered a heartbreak earlier in the week, the Trojans were engaged to win.
Burham finished with 27 points, followed by Rocky Hester and Brayden Beckham with 10 points each, Jackie Black with six points, Ethan Nichols with four and Tate Longan with two points.
Dewey jumped to an 8-0 lead out of the gate. Kanye Valley came back in the second quarter to equalize and trail five goals at the end of the first half.
Troy (9-3) started defending 3-2 in the first quarter, turned 1-3-1 in the second half and settled into a man-to-man match in the third.
Even after Caney Valley led by 12 points, Dewey made one last comeback—and nearly changed the score.
Dewey’s career was driven by completed journalism.
“They cut it to three 10 seconds ago,” Brinker noted. “We lost a lot of free throws that could have kept them away.”
Beckham nailed a crucial triple indicator to disrupt part of Dewey’s comeback.
“We’re kind of blue-collar,” Brinker said. “we
We have to improve our free throws and slow starts. This was a huge win for us.”
Brinker praised Dewey’s character and performance.
“Coach (Lance) Knight is doing a really good job,” he said.
Jake Laspisa scored 20 points for Dewey, followed by Jess Williams and Colby Miller with 10 points each.
Hunter Perrier scored eight points, Jeremiah Highsmith led to six and Jacob Moser hit a free throw.
“We won by three quarters,” Knight noted. “We had one bad quarter, about three minutes into the third quarter that just killed us. It was kind of a bam! Bam! Bam! For them and before you know it, we’re down by double digits. We fought back and came back.”
Knight cited attacking rebounds by Kanye Valley as a key factor.
Girls: Kanye Valley 42, Dewey 32
One word defined this epic conflict – defense.
By the first half, Kanye Valley had a one-point lead, 14-11, and he knew he had a tough job ahead in the second half.
“It was pretty much a stalemate during the first half of the third quarter,” Kanye Valley coach Derek Longan said.
But, the shot hit Caney Valley in a few major buckets to bring about the separation.
through three-quarters of the Kani Valley led by 10, 28-18; The Lady of Troy maintained her dominance during the fourth period.
“We were able to figure out our free throws the entire length of the distance,” Longan said. “It was a really tough, very tough match.”
Jade Upton dropped 15 points to lead the offensive Caney Valley, followed by Libby Thompson with nine points. Sami Gilbraith and Jesse Sumner with eight each and Jill Emery with two.
Dewey Dynamo saved Cheyan McDaniel’s top scorer.
In the first three quarters, Dewey succeeded in McDaniel, holding her to four points.
“Our defense was fantastic,” Longan said.
But McDaniel broke with 11 points in the final clip.
McDaniel scored 16 points, followed by Macy Smith with eight. Kalina Downing, four; Tylen Ruble, four; And Matty Lorenz is single.