By Jacob Sturm
Midwest City Beacon
Del City’s night got going prior to tipoff and oozed over into the most important game of the Eagles season.
Brandon Garrison, the starting center for Del City’s boys basketball team, received recognition as a McDonald’s All American with a replica jersey presentation prior to the pregame warmups. Then players from the Eagles wore warmup shirts recognizing his accomplishment.
Del City coach Lenny Hatchett said Garrison’s recognition went beyond the team, making for the warmup shirt commemoration opportunity.
“We wanted to recognize what he’s done for the school, the basketball program, Del City and the community,” Hatchett said. “They sent shirts for all of our guys. So we decided to wear those for our warmups.”
The honor came as a surprise for Garrison, too.
“I had no idea, but I just knew I was a nominee,” Garrison said. “We were at practice one day, and coach just told me and the whole team just went crazy.”
As for the pregame warmup shirts, Garrison said it brought him a good feeling.
“It’s just a good feeling,” Garrison said. “It showed me that my brothers support me, and I had no clue about it. It just surprised me.”
Then came the game where Del City went to work. In an 80-44 win against Noble, composure seemed to be a key. That came with an abundance of experience to help dictate the tempo, and well-timed bursts of quality from a plethora of Eagles’ players.
Hatchett identified the teams’ previous matchup as part of the key to the team’s success in the game on Saturday.
“I think our guys got an eye-opener the first time we played them a couple weeks ago and knew (they) weren’t just going to be a pushover,” Hatchett said. “These guys were going to come in and compete. And our guys did a pretty good job defensively and that’s kind of been one of our goals that we want to try to keep doing.”
Del City forced turnovers throughout the game, leading to multiple solid looks in transition. That, along with the relentless physicality of Del City, drew the ire of the Noble coaches and fans.
Noble also made life tough for Garrison by finding ways to deny him the ball in the post, and limited him to 14 points. That meant Garrison’s impact showed up most on the glass.
“We’re going to make sure he gets some touches and (that we) get the ball inside,” Hatchett said. “He’s got to show that he can play on both ends of the floor, and I think tonight he ended up having 15 rebounds. That’s got to be consistent. It’s got to be on a day-to-day basis and he put that responsibility on himself. I thought he showed up and played a pretty good game.”
By the start of the fourth quarter, the Eagles advantages had led to a 54-36 lead. Various late sequences only fluffed the score more favorably, clinching the regional championship to cap the night.
Del City next faces El Reno on March 3.