By Christian Potts
TULSA - It was just the third-place trophy for the 57th annual Tournament of Champions on the line.
But this may have been a preview of big things to come in the Class 4A playoffs in a few months, with No. 1 Kingfisher and No. 2 Crossings Christian battling inside Tulsa's BOK Center.
In the end, the teams played a state tournament worthy game, needing overtime before Evan Crotts' follow shot of a missed 3-pointer barely beat the buzzer, giving Crossings a 49-48 victory against Class 4A's defending state champions.
"I saw the shot go up, and it didn't look like it was going in, so I just crashed in there," Crotts said. "I was hoping it would come to my side, and it did."
Kingfisher had trailed nearly the entire game, forcing overtime at 39-all on Maddox Mecklenburg's late driving layup. The Jackets were further assisted by three straight misses by the Knights on one-and-one attempts in the closing 78 seconds of regulation.
"In every game, we haven't finished real well," admitted Crossings coach Shawn Schenk. "There's consistency that we've got to work on.
"But when you face three straight No. 1 teams in the state, there's going to be some of that. You've got to give credit where credit is due, and those teams we're playing, they're all really good."
In overtime, sophomore point guard Cal Furnish took over, hitting a deep 3 and a second bucket, with Crotts adding a free throw to make it 46-40 with 1:08 to play.
But Kingfisher again fought back, getting a pair of driving layups by Xavier Ridenour to get within three, 47-44. Ridenour went to the line with 33 seconds to go and after a make, missed his second attempt.
But Mecklenburg rebounded and kicked the ball back out to Ridenour, who drained a 3, putting Kingfisher up, 48-47.
Crossings set up its last play for Furnish, and his 3-pointer rimmed out. Cam Parker rebounded, passed to Mack Gudell and his 3 also caromed off.
But it went straight into the hands of Crotts, who more or less volleyed it in from about five feet, barely beating the buzzer with his only field goal of the night.
"You play to the horn, and this couldn't happen to a better guy," Schenk said. "You watch him play, he's always guarding the other team's best player. I'm really happy for him."
The Yellowjackets started slowly, managing only one basket in the first quarter and still were trailing, 17-10, midway in the second. But they turned it on, scoring the final nine points of the half, keyed by Ridenour, whose bucket gave Kingfisher its first lead and the halftime margin of 19-17.
The second half was more of the same, a tough defensive struggle between two squads with their sights set on a possible rematch with even more on the line in March.
"We'd have loved to see them at 8:30 (in the championship game)," Schenk said. "But I think it was awesome. It's a measure of revenge a little bit, but they have a state title from last year and we don't, so it's not quite equal.
"But it is a chance to get better and figure out what we need to do, what do we need to work on."
Furnish had a game-high 29 points for Crossings, the only Knights' player in double figures. Ridenour scored 20, with Mecklenburg getting 13 and Caden Kitchens 10 for the defending 4A state champion Yellowjackets.
In the day's earlier consolation contests:
Edmond North 82, Bartlesville 46
The fifth-place game brought a battle of star players in Edmond North's Dylan Warlick and Bartlesville's David Castillo. The pair might be the two top juniors in the entire state, with college coaches well aware of their talents.
But the showdown never materialized, as the Huskies jumped out to a quick double-digit lead and were never threatened in an 82-46 victory.
Edmond North came into the week ranked No. 1 in Class 6A, while the Bruins were unranked, and on this day North looked the part of a top-ranked squad.
Warlick had plenty of help, led by Dontrell Yearby's 14 points and 11 apiece from T.O. Barrett and T.J. Strong. Warlick finished the game with 13, while Castillo did manage a game-high 17 for the Bruins.
Tulsa Union 63, Roff 37
In the seventh-place game, the Redhawks bounced back after a couple of rough outings in a big way. Union jumped out to an 11-0 lead and was in control all the way on the way to a 26-point triumph against the Tigers.
Michael Gilyard scored 12 points to lead the way for Coach Rudy Garcia's Redhawks, who exit the Tournament of Champions with a 4-5 record.
Roff started the tournament by throwing a big scare into Tulsa Memorial, taking an eight-point lead into halftime before eventually falling. They'll head back home after an 0-3 week, but with a ton of experience to take into the Class B race, where they're on the short list of favorites to win a gold ball.