By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sports Writer
Class 5A basketball has been Tulsa Public Schools’ domain when it comes to state championships the past two seasons. A school from the system has won the gold ball in both the boys’ and girls’ title games.
was already guaranteed the boys’ title in advance when Memorial faced off against Booker T. Washington on March 10 at the Mabee Center. The Chargers beat the Hornets 79-67, marking their second consecutive title, the fourth in six years and eighth in school history.
While may have come up short in the boys’ game, its girls were victorious later in the day, beating Pryor 56-49 in overtime. It was ’s first state title since it won 6A in 2013 and fourth overall. They did it under first-year coach Rabu Leyva, who came to the Lady Hornets from Memorial after Annette Kennedy retired last year.
“To be honest with you, I’m just proud of the girls,” girls coach Rabu Leyva says. “I don’t take any personal pride, because they’re the ones who did all the hard work.”
It was the second straight year programs swept Class 5A. Memorial and East Central did it last year, respectively.
“It feels great going back-to-back,” says Memorial boys’ Kori Guest, who stands 6’5”. “Especially my senior year. That’s all I wanted, and we did it man. It is a relief because we did it.”
Juniors Kaleb Boone and Keylon Boone, 6’7” twin brothers, were the Most Valuable Players of the game. Guest shared the scoring lead with Kaleb Boone, as both scored 18 points. Keylon Boone carded 17; and junior Shemar Walker scored 13.
Memorial (27-2) opened up with a 7-0 run. But, the Hornets (20-7) came back and owned a short-lived 26-24 lead in the second quarter.
The Chargers led 38-32 by intermission and 54-45 as the third quarter closed. But, Booker T. Washington didn’t give up. Boise State signee Jaycson Bereal hit a field goal, followed by a 3 to bring his team to within five points.
Memorial would regain control.
“Defense and capitalizing on the stops we get and scoring after we get the stops (was the key),” Guest says.
Kaleb Boone made a slam dunk with 2:58 left in the game, and it was 65-58.
Sophomore Trey Phipps led Hornet scorers with a game-high 24 points, junior Seth Hurd put up 13 and Bereal and junior Demarco Jones each scored 11.
“Every time Memorial and Booker T play each other, it’s a rivalry game,” Guest says. “Everybody is going to be there, and to beat them in the championship game, that means everything.”
Although Guest will graduate, he believes the Chargers have what it takes to three-peat.
In the 5A girls title game, had to rally from three five-point second-half deficits against Pryor.
“My message to the girls was ‘It is their season. They should enjoy it.’ And because of their joy, they came back and won that game,” Leyva says. “I’m just proud of them.”
The Lady Hornets (25-5) got off to an 11-2 lead and were on top 25-15 at halftime.
But Pryor rallied with a 15-5 run to tie at 30 early in the second half. After Khalan Richardson sank a free throw to give the lead back, Pryor’s Beverlee Caraway hit a 3 to give the Lady Tigers their first lead of the game.
Pryor would later move out in front 45-40 late in the fourth quarter. But a trey from freshman Victoria Nunez and a tying shot by junior Rhys Anderson with 5.3 seconds left in regulation forced the extra period.
The defense made it hard for Pryor to get its shots off late in regulation and in overtime.
“Our school is called the ‘Pride of the Great Southwest,’ and we call our defense ‘The Pride of the Great Southwest,’ and it’s what I’ve been preaching to them all year long,” Leyva says. “We can’t control the shots made, but we can decide to play defense, and they bought into it all year long. I was real proud of the effort.”
Nunez hit another 3 that put up for good. Anderson then added two free throws and a fast break to make it a 52-47 game. Pryor got a basket to draw within three points with 29.6 seconds left. But Lady Tiger fouls sent to the foul line twice more as it went 4-for-4 for its clinching points.
Anderson led the Lady Hornets with 16 points while Reed and Richardson each put up 11.
“She is a clutch player,” Leyva says of Anderson. “She’s been making clutch plays for us all year long. She tore her this summer and fought hard all year to come back, so, we don’t win without her. No doubt about it.”