Class 6A Boys Championship
TULSA – It’s a long drive home from Tulsa’s Mabee Center to Edmond, but none of the Bulldog players, coaches or fans were in a hurry to hit the road Saturday night.
Driving could wait. It was time to celebrate.
The occasion was one that had been a long time coming, as Memorial ended an 18-year title drought -- including many years in between of being nearly irrelevant on the 6A hoops scene -- with a 53-43 victory over a Midwest City program that had become one of the benchmarks of 6A supremacy in the past decade.
It wasn't a surprise exactly. The Bulldogs had been ranked No.1 all season, but they still had to get to the game and win it.
The title caps a 27-1 journey just the way coach Shane Crawford likes it. Memorial played tough, physical defense for 32 minutes, were unselfish on offense and tenacious on the boards.
The championship is the second for the program, which also won the title in 1993, sandwiched in between runner-up finishes in 1979, 1986 and 1999.
The two teams battled on nearly even terms through most of three quarters before Memorial broke a 26-26 deadlock with seven straight points late in the period. A 3-point bucket by junior standout James Woodard at 4:25 ignited the run, and on the play MWC was called for a foul away from the shooter. On the in-bounds play, Obi Emegano came off a screen to get open under the basket and put home a point-blanker for a 31-26 lead – a five point run in just two seconds.
There was no looking back.
The Bombers never really recovered. After Jordan Thomas dashed in for a fast break bucket at 2:55, Cortrez Colbert tried to bring his mates back with a trey and two free throws in less than a minute. It was 33-32, but Emegano cashed two free throws and Jordan Woodard scored to boost the margin back to six.
T.J. Noel popped in one of his three 3-pointers with just nine seconds left in the third to keep it within three heading into the final period.
The Bombers did not score again until just 4:22 remained. By then the Bulldogs had stretched their margin to 10 as the Woodard brothers scored seven straight. James hit one of two from the line at 1:53 to make it 48-40 and two free throws by Emegano put the cushion back at 10 with only 1:36 on the clock.
That's when the large Memorial crowd that trekked up the Turner Turnpike could smell an epic win nearing.
Midwest City kept putting up 3-point attempts and kept missing. The Bombers tried to drive into the lane and found nothing there – just maroon-clad bodies with long arms and quick hands. There would be no 'Bomber Magic.'
James Woodard, held to just four points in the first half, led both teams with 18, including that key trey. Emegano, closing out his career in brilliant fashion despite fighting leg cramps in the final quarter, scored the first five for Memorial and finished with 14. Jared Jobe added nine and Jordan Woodard eight.
But it was the depth and balance of the Bulldogs that really made the difference – and the fact that every player on the floor for Memorial seemed to do his job.
Midwest City, which won four titles from 1998 through 2007, finished the season with a 23-4 record and a fourth silver ball. The Bombers also lost last March to Putnam City on this same floor.
Noel, despite coming off the Bomber bench, led his team with 13 points as he hit a trio of treys. Cortrez Colbert scored 12 and brother Cortrael was held to five as he never got into any kind of a hot streak from outside.
Class 6A State Championship
Edmond Memorial 9 10 19 15 -- 53
Midwest City 12 8 15 8 -- 43
Edmond Memorial – James Woodard 18, Obi Emegano 14, Jared Jobe 9, Jordan Woodard 8, Jordan Thomas 3, Deangelo Johnson 1.
Midwest City – T.J. Noel 13, Cortrez Colbert 12, Greg Austin 6, Cortrael Colbert 5, Brian Taylor 4, Omega Harris 3.
article updated on 03/13/11 05:46