By Ty Loftis | Photos by Karen Schwartz
It was a high scoring affair on Thursday evening as the best players from across the state met in Jenks for the Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State boys basketball games.
In the first game of the evening, it was players from the lower classification schools going head-to-head and in a competitive, back and forth affair, it was the team from out west getting an 82-78 win against the East.
It was the East team who got out to an early lead at the end of the first quarter though, as they led 27-15. The West squad would outscore the East in every quarter thereafter, however.
As the lead was trimmed to seven at the break, it was Pawnee’s Gunnar Gordon who had already scored 20 points for the East. Gordon finished with 26 points, including eight 3-pointers.
Gordon was just happy to be playing in Thursday night’s game, as he suffered a torn ACL at the end of his junior year.
"It definitely made me more mentally tough, which is something you need in basketball," Gordon said. "I think it made me stronger mentally. It just made me get a harder work ethic, too.
"It was a long road to recovery and the payoff of getting to play with my teammates this year, it was worth it.”
Gordon will be attending Oklahoma Wesleyan University to continue playing basketball in the fall. But along with getting to return to the court once again following his injury, he was extremely grateful for the experience of playing in the All-State game.
"(I was proud) representing the Black Bear uniform one more time and seeing what the future holds in store for me," Gordon said.
In the second half, the West took the lead just before the end of the third quarter, and took a 58-55 lead into the final frame and getting the four-point win.
West player Roberto Hernandez from Tyrone finished the game with 26 points.
In the nightcap, it was the Large East squad that was able to control the game throughout and defeat their counterparts to the West, winning 105-93.
It was a high scoring game from the tip, as the Large East team surged to a 29-23 lead after one and took a 51-43 lead into halftime.
Owasso’s Caden Fry had 10 points in the first half for the East squad, but Ethan Scott from Mustang kept the West team in it, as he had 15 points, all of which came from 3-point range.
It was much the same in the second half, as Fry scored an additional 13 points in the third quarter alone to give the Large East team a 76-69 lead into the final quarter. His 23 points led the Large East.
Bradyn Hubbard, who helped lead Tulsa Memorial to the 5A state title this past March, added 17 points for the Large East. Another pair of Tulsa-area standouts, Aaron Potter of Booker T. Washington and Anthony Allen of Broken Arrow, each finished with 15 points.
Scott ended up with 23 points for the Large West, as he converted seven 3's.
Clyde Barkley, who has 700 career wins as head basketball coach at Inola, was recognized in between games with his son, Justin, who has 200 wins at Rogers State University.
The OCA All-State games wrap up Friday night with the football game, which takes place in Shawnee on the campus of Oklahoma Baptist University.