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Titans take down defending Class A state champs

Carl Albert’s Jayden Mott shoots over a defender Thursday in the Mustang Holiday Classic. Photo by Michael Kinney

By Michael Kinney
Contributing Writer

MUSTANG- Carl Albert had maybe the more intriguing matchup of the first round out of any team in the 2023 Holiday Classic. They drew Caddo High, the defending A State champion.

Despite being a much smaller school than the Titans, they have championship experience and a talented go-to player in DJ Dill.

Unfortunately for the Bruins, none of that mattered against a focused Carl Albert squad. The Titans rolled to a 78-28 victory in the opening game of the Holiday Classic at the Mustang Activity Center.

“We respected them just knowing what they did last year and then they’ve got a good team coming back,” Carl Albert coach Jay Price said. “I know they’re highly ranked in Class A and for us, we just felt like we wanted to try to enforce our athleticism a little bit. That’s not something that they probably don’t see day in and day out.”

The Titans (3-2) held the Bruins to 10 of 42 shooting from the field. That includes 0-14 from behind the 3-point line.

“I thought we did a good job defensively early, kind of setting the tone and making a struggle for them to get shots off,” Price said. “And we wanted to kind of press the pace a little bit and push the pace. And I thought we did a good job of that once we kind of got our legs going and got warmed up. So that was kind of our goal.”

Dill led the Bruins with 16 points. However, he was held to four points the rest of the game as Quincy Hopkins took primary defense duties.

“I just tried to play him and intensely stay on him, stay close,” Hopkins said. “I tried to make his shots as hard as I could.”

Quincy Hopkins led all scorers with 21 points on 9 of 15 shooting. Steven Anderson added 14 points while Jayden Mott chipped in with 9 points and five rebounds.

The victory pushed the Titans into the tournament semifinals Friday where they faced a familiar foe in Putnam City North. The two teams faced each other twice last season. That includes a semifinal matchup in the 2022 Holiday Classic.

A win over the Panthers would put the Titans into the tournament championship, which is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

The last time Carl Albert was on the court was a 56-48 loss to Guthrie more than three weeks ago. Keeping his team up and ready was the biggest job for CA coaching staff as they entered the tourney.

“You just have to grind on that loss all that time,” Price said. “It’s just trying to keep them focused day in and day out in practice and then just trying to get in position, Hey, we finally get to play. Let’s take advantage of it. Let’s get excited, let’s get some energy, let’s get going. And fortunately, we get to play back-to-back here three games, so that’ll help us a little bit. We need that. We need to play some good competition back-to-back and kind of see what it’s like and be able to rebound from one day and get to the next day.”

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