By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
NORMAN – Last season ended with tears for the Del City boys basketball team.
This time, it was tears of joy.
The Eagles held off rival Carl Albert to win the Class 5A state championship Saturday evening at the Lloyd Noble Center. Senior Brandon Garrison scored the winning layup with 35 seconds left in overtime in the 37-35 victory.
It was Del City’s second title in the past three years. They lost to Tulsa Memorial last year in the 5A finals.
“We came up short last year and everyone talked about it,” Garrison said. “We had a bad taste in our mouth and didn’t want that same feeling. When we got down, our teammates got together and got it done.”
Del City used solid defense and just enough offense to get past the Titans.
Carl Albert led 28-18 with 3:28 left in the third quarter but scored only seven points the rest of the way.
The Eagles cut the deficit to four points at the end of the third. Then in the fourth, Garrison pushed the Eagles on top with three straight baskets. His last was an offensive putback to give Del City a 33-31 lead with 4:10 remaining.
Jordan England later tied the game for the Titans with a pair of free throws at the 2:22 mark. Del City got the ball with just over a minute remaining and drained the clock for one final play, but Garrison’s baseline jumper bounced off the rim.
In overtime, Quincy Hopkins and Damarious Vealy each scored and were fouled. Both missed the free throw, making it a 35-35 score with 2:14 in overtime.
Del City took the lead for good with 35 seconds left when Garrison scored on a feed from Vealy. Carl Albert had a few opportunities to tie. Hopkins missed a shot from the corner. England had a floater bounce off the rim but grabbed the rebound and tried for a last second shot.
Garrison finished with a game-high 17 points along with 16 rebounds and four blocks.
England paced the Titans with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Hopkins added eight points and six rebounds.
Del City coach Lenny Hatchett said his team’s defense was incredible throughout the playoffs. They held Tulsa Edison to 40 points in the quarterfinals and allowed only 35 to defending state champion Tulsa Memorial in the semifinals.
“I challenged our guys this year because on our state championship team (in 2021) we averaged (allowing) 43 points in the playoffs,” Hatchett said. “And I told our guys if we can beat that 43 we have a chance to be successful and have a chance to win. And for us to have these two back-to-back nights to hold teams to 35 points, I think we did our job.”
Carl Albert led much of the first half. England hit a pair of free throws at the of the first for a 10-8 lead.
The Eagles briefly took control in the second quarter with a turnaround jumper by Jaedon Foreman and conventional three-point play by Garrison. England made a pair of free throws with one second left to put the Titans on top 17-16 at halftime.
The Titans continued to roll after the break. They opened the third with an 11-2 run. Hopkins capped the spurt with a basket to give Carl Albert a 28-18 advantage late in the third.
Del City responded with a 15-3 run to take the lead. England’s free throws with 2:24 tied the game again.
Garrison put them ahead for good with a layup in overtime.
“When we were down, I told my teammates don’t panic and get it done,” Garrison said.
Del City advanced to the finals with wins over Tulsa Edison and Tulsa Memorial.
Del City 49, Tulsa Edison 40
The Eagles shook off a slow start to top Tulsa Edison 49-40 in the 5A state quarterfinals Wednesday night at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman.
The game was tied at 18 all early in the second quarter, before the Eagles reeled off 10 straight points to regain control.
Percy Green scored 15 points to lead the Eagles. Garrison finished with eight points but grabbed 14 rebounds in the win.
Jay Overton-Tobie had 16 points and six rebounds for Edison (20-8).
Del City 56, Tulsa Memorial 35
In a rematch of last year’s 5A championship, Del City got their revenge in a 56-35 semifinal victory.
Brandon Garrison helped the Eagles take control early as he scored the team’s first seven points. The McDonald’s All-American finished with 18 points and six rebounds.
“They [Memorial] are a pretty good ball club but my boys showed up and got a W today,” Garrison said. “I started off slow [against Tulsa Edison] and coach told me to pick it up today and that’s what I did.”
Jamouri McCalister was also a force on both ends of the floor. He scored 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds and four steals.
Del City led by eight at the end of the first and nearly doubled up the Chargers at halftime. Damarious Vealy scored on the offensive glass and Garrison knocked down a 3-pointer for a 31-16 lead at the break.
The Eagles defense continued to stifle Memorial in the second half. The Chargers didn’t score until 3:40 in the third quarter when Seth Pratt hit two free throws.
Memorial closed the third on a 9-2 run and got within six points in the fourth on a trey by Pratt.
But that’s all the tighter it would get. Del City allowed only two points the rest of the way to advance to the finals for a fourth year in a row.
Jarreth Ingram led Memorial with 12 points and Pratt added 10.
Memorial shot just 28.2% from the field (11-of-39). Del City was 61.1% from the field (22-of-36).