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Bombers win state title

Midwest City senior Roy Henderson (2) hoists the Class 5A state championship trophy Saturday afternoon at the Lloyd Noble Center. Photo by Jay Wiggins for the Midwest City beacon

Midwest City caps incredible turnaround with win over Booker T Washington for 5A title

By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon

NORMAN – Torey Noel has been talking about a turnaround since the day he was hired to coach his alma mater last spring.

And he didn’t aim low.

Noel promised the Midwest City boys would have “best turnaround Oklahoma has ever seen.”

The Bombers (25-3) made good on that promise as they beat Tulsa Booker T. Washington, 69-66, in the Class 5A state championship game Saturday at the Lloyd Noble Center.

“From the start, I told them we can have the best turnaround Oklahoma has ever seen,” Noel said. “Me being here as an assistant, I already knew the guys and knew what they could do if they just bought in and just came to practice to work every day.”

Midwest City claimed its fifth state title after winning only six games last season. It was the program’s first title since 2007.

Noel was in disbelief that it’d been 17 years since the Bombers brought home a gold ball.

“How long? Seventeen (years)?” Noel said. “That’s crazy. I’ve been in two (state finals) of them. The last time we were there, I was actually playing. So, for me to be coaching now and to get one, it’s an unbelievable feeling.”

The odds weren’t in Midwest City’s favor early in the finals matchup.

The Bombers trailed by 13 points in the second quarter, before finding their rhythm.

Midwest City narrowed the deficit to eight at halftime, as they trailed 39-31. They continued to rally in the third and tied the game at 45-45 on a 3-pointer by DeShawn Denson.

“Just accept challenge. Just because we’re down, that don’t mean nothing,” said junior Carl’Sheon Young. “There’s a lot of basketball, so we kept our heads and got it done.”

The Bombers opened the fourth on a 7-1 run. Young knocked down a 3-pointer for a 59-53 score – their largest of the game.

Washington (25-3) stormed back and regained the lead. A steal and fastbreak layup by Isaac Sander gave the Hornets a 66-65 lead with 36 seconds left.

It wasn’t time to panic for the Bombers.

Roy Henderson and Young each hit two free throws to seal the victory.

“We just had to stay calm,” Denson said. “We knew it’d be tense.”

Young led the Bombers with 22 points including three 3-pointers. Henderson finished with 16 points, followed by Denson with 16.

Jarvis Nash had a huge game off the bench. The junior scored 10 points, grabbed four steals, and had two blocked shots.

“We’ve had four guys score over 25 (points in a game) and six score over 18, so whoever’s night it is we just need to roll with them and trust in them,” Noel said.

The Bombers bench outscored BTW 13-0.

After the state championship win, Noel and assistant DJ Walters honored two former Bombers who recently passed away. Noel wore his former teammate Cornell Neal’s jersey and Walters wore Juwan Walker’s jersey.

“The last time we were here, he was playing with me,” Noel said about Neal. It (honoring Neal) means everything. He was there for me spiritually.”
Midwest City advanced to the championship with a pair nailbiters against Collinsville and rival Carl Albert.

In the first round, the Bomber avoided an upset when Henderson hit a tiebreaking free throw with 3.3 seconds left for a 57-56 win over Collinsville.

Big man Zac Brown scored 21 points and had 15 rebounds for the Cardinals.

Midwest City led 54-49 with three minutes left to play. Collinsville went on a 7-2 run to tie the game. Kane Abshire hit a 3-pointer with seven seconds left. Henderson was fouled on the inbounds pass and hit the game-winner at the foul line.

The Bombers struggled against the Cardinals size as they were outrebounded 36-14. They also did not shoot a free throw until Denson made a pair with 29 seconds left.

On Friday, Midwest City pulled out another impressive win as they topped Carl Albert 56-54.

The Bombers led nearly the entire game, but the Titans kept it close down the stretch.

Young hit two free throws to put Midwest City up 53-47 with 1:36 left. The Titans clawed back and pulled within a point at 55-54. Steven Anderson was fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all three free throws with less than 10 seconds left.

Denson was later fouled and hit the first free throw but missed the second. The Titans grabbed the rebound and raced down court but missed a long 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Young led the Bombers with 16 points despite missing long stretches due to foul trouble. Denson had 15 points and Henderson and Bryan Williams added 10 apiece.
Marcus James led the Titans with 12 points.

Midwest City junior Mark Jackson (11) celebrates after the Bombers beat Booker T. Washington 69-66 in the Class 5A state championship Saturday at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman. Photo by jay Wiggins for the Midwest City Beacon

DeShawn Denson shoots a layup against Booker T. Washington in the state finals. Photo by Jeff Harrison

Roy Henderson tries to grab a rebound. Photo by Jeff Harrison

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