– BY MICHAEL KNIGHT
The first day of the state tournament is in the books and we saw some outstanding performances. We saw some favorites get upset, players absolutely shine and even a buzzer beater. It’s now time to look at some of the notable performances from day one at the state tournament.
Davion Warden – Northwest Classen
In the highest scoring game of the first day at the state tourney, Northwest Classen held off Lawton Eisenhower 86-82. The Knights would need all the help they could get to get the win in what was an absolute shootout from start to finish. Leading the way was Davion Warden who finished with a team-high 34 points in the win. Warden’s big contribution in the points column was one of the ways to cancel out Lawton Ike’s Antonio Gordon, who had a monster performance. Despite losing, it should be mentioned that Gordon had a stellar game with 41 points and 16 rebounds. However, Warden and the Knights had a little more firepower and were able to survive and advance to Friday’s semifinal clash with Del City.
El Reno’s Girls Team
No individual to shine a spotlight on here except the whole El Reno girls team. All week, the Lady Indians had to hear about their state tournament record. This was their tenth trip to state and they were 0-9 all time in state tournament games. They never have to worry about that stat again after picking up the big win over a Coweta team that made it to the semifinals a year ago. The Lady Indians were on fire from the field and they had one of their best offensive outputs in the tournament opener. Now that the tournament record monkey is off their back, El Reno now shifts focus to Lawton Eisenhower with a date in the state championship game on the line.
Jalei Oglesby – Howe
You know what they say about big time players and big time stages. Howe senior Jalei Oglesby has been looking forward to making a trip back to the state tournament with her Lady Lions. She didn’t disappoint as Howe dismantled Luther in Thursday’s state tournament opener. Oglesby showed why she’s one of the best scorers in state history when she dropped 42 points on Thursday, outscoring Luther by herself in a 79-41 win. Oglesby was only three points away from tying Alva’s Jaden Hobbs’ record for most points in a state tournament game. The good news for Oglesby is she has at least and maybe two more chances to break that record.
Kalib Boone – Memorial
Two-time defending champion Memorial weathered the storm from Lawton MacArthur in the first half to get out with a 74-60 win. The Chargers found themselves down by as many as six in the first half as the Highlanders came out on fire from three-point range. Despite the fast start, Memorial would lead at halftime and would extend their lead in the third and fourth quarter. Dominating for Memorial from start to finish was OSU signee Kalib Boone. The Charger senior led all scorers with 27 points and was an absolute force in the paint as the Chargers advanced to another semifinal appearance.
Micah Thomas – Putnam City North
Defending champion Putnam City North might have come into the state tournament as an underdog with a 14-13 record but don’t tell senior guard Micah Thomas that. He came into the tourney as a four-year starter, having scored over 2,000 career points and was the MVP to their title run a year ago. Thomas and the Panthers are starting to play their best ball at the absolute best time and it showed in their win over Midwest City on Thursday night. Thomas led the Panthers with 34 points as he put on a show for those in attendance in Catoosa. Thomas is one of the best players in the state and he’s been showing why over the last few weeks. Thursday’s performance was just the latest chapter.
Paige Pendley – Elgin
Elgin’s Paige Pendley played the hero in one of the best games of day one at the state tournament. In an absolutely loaded 4A bracket, Elgin and Classen went to overtime with the Lady Owls escaping with a 60-58 win in OT. Pendley led Elgin with 22 points but it was her basket with 5.8 seconds left that tied the game at 58. She was fouled on the shot and would make the free throw to give Elgin the lead. Classen would then get whistled for a five second call on the ensuing inbounds pass and Elgin would clench the game at the free throw line. Pendley has been a star for Elgin but her performance on Thursday will be remembered for a while.
Taylen Collins – Muldrow
Top ranked Muldrow advanced to the semifinals behind a complete performance from their star junior Taylen Collins. The Muldrow star scored a game-high 21 points and made life for Holland Hall’s Gabby Gregory absolutely miserable. Gregory is widely considered to be the best player in Oklahoma’s 2019 class and she was the 2018 OKPreps Player Of The Year. However, Collins is making a nice argument to be considered the next best player in Oklahoma as she sent Gregory and Holland Hall packing. Now Muldrow must shift their focus to another top performer in Paige Pendley as Muldrow faces Elgin in the semifinal.
Tylor Perry – Spiro
If you listened to our OKPreps 4A-2A Preview Podcast, you heard Sam Duren talk about Spiro’s Tylor Perry being a name to watch this week at the state tournament. We’re not here to say we told you so, but you certainly had fair warning. Perry and Spiro are headed to the semifinals to face top ranked Kingston after Perry dropped 27 points, including the game-winner as the buzzer sounded to beat Tahlequah Sequoyah 59-56. With the game tied at 56, Perry took the ball and the game in his hands. He dribbled towards the left wing and took a step back and buried the triple to punch Sprio’s ticket to Friday’s semifinal.