High school boys basketball notebook: Willis returns
BY BARRY LEWIS World Sports Writer
Thursday, March 07, 2013
3/07/13 at 5:09 AM
Webster baseball coach Ira Willis will officiate in his 31st state basketball tournament in 34 years this week in Tulsa.
Willis missed last year's tournament due to ailing knees that required replacement surgeries.
"I told them last year I would be back and I am," Willis said.
Last Saturday, Willis worked the Class 6A boys area consolation finals at Catoosa.
"Both of my knees are great," Willis said. "I can run and do it all."
Good Mabee memories: Oklahoma City Southeast is in the 5A boys tournament for the first time since 2008. If Southeast can win its quarterfinal game Thursday against Chickasha at Sapulpa, the Spartans would play in the semifinals at Mabee Center on Friday.
Southeast coach Walter Brewer has good memories of the Mabee Center, where he won state titles in 2004 and '05, and the '04 Tournament of Champions.
"It's like a home away from home," Brewer said. "That Tournament of Champions was really a tournament of champions."
Brewer referred to that TofC having major college players such as Blake Griffin, Taylor Griffin, Obi Muonelo, Noah Hartsock, Sam Mitchell and Southeast's Marchello Vealy, who was the state player of the year.
In the rotation: Class 6A boys quarterfinal games are at Mabee Center because it was their turn. The 6A boys quarterfinals were last at the main site in 2009 when it was at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman. Each 6A and 5A tournament plays its quarterfinals at the main site once every four years.
Wide open tournaments: Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association associate executive secretary David Jackson said about this week's event in Tulsa: "It's going to be a great tournament. It's the first time in a long time that the 6A and 5A boys are wide open and it's going to be great because of that.
"I was so encouraged last year by the great turnout we had at the Mabee Center on Saturday. It was a great atmosphere and I'm expecting the same this year."
Tickets for each session are $5. Mabee Center is in the first year of a second consecutive three-year contract to host the 6A and 5A tournaments.
Webcast/broadcast schedule: Thursday and Friday games at Mabee Center and Oklahoma City's State Fair Arena will be live streamed at tulsaworld.com/coxhshub The 6A and 5A title games on Saturday will be televised on Cox Channel 3 and 703 with announcers Mike Wolfe and J.V. Haney. The 4A through 2A state title games will be on Fox Sports Oklahoma Plus with Steve Marshall and Rod Thompson as announcers.