5A boys basketball: Memorial gets opportunity for championship
BY BARRY LEWIS World Sports Writer
Saturday, March 09, 2013
3/09/13 at 8:31 AM
Memorial senior Grant Murphy will be in uniform for his second state Class 5A basketball championship game on Saturday, but his role will be much different this year than it was as a freshman in 2010.
"I was on the bench that day yelling my heart out on the bench and we came up a little bit short (against Booker T. Washington)," Murphy said. "It was a lot of fun then and it will be a lot of fun tomorrow."
Murphy, a starting forward, helped No. 2 ranked Memorial reach Saturday's title game as he had nine points and eight rebounds in a 51-43 semifinal victory over No. 7 Lawton MacArthur on Friday at Mabee Center.
"Grant Murphy, with his offensive rebounds, handling the ball against the press and defense made an impact," Memorial coach Eric Savage said. "I thought R.J. Diggs came in and really gave us a big lift in the third quarter."
Diggs was the leading scorer Friday for Memorial with 11 points while Mike'Quan Deane added nine points and 11 rebounds. Darius Graham led the Highlanders (18-9) with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Memorial (22-5), looking for its first state title since 2008 in 6A, will play defending champion Oklahoma City McGuinness (24-4) for the gold ball at 1:45 p.m. Top-ranked McGuinness advanced with a 50-40 comeback victory over No. 14 Chickasha as David Love scored 13 of his 16 points in the second half to help rally the Fighting Irish.
"Memorial is a very good team and it's going to be a battle I'm pretty sure," McGuinness coach Tondrell Durham said.
Memorial's win Friday was much different than its last semifinal appearance when it lost an early 16-point lead in a 2011 loss to Booker T. Washington.
This time, Memorial finished strong after the first 2 1/2 quarters were a see-saw affair.
Graham scored 11 points and sharpshooter Trace Cook had a pair of treys for Mac- Arthur in the first half that ended tied at 27.
"It was a physical game and we couldn't get a lot of rhythm going offensively," Savage said. "We knew we had to tighten up on defense. We made some defensive switches at halftime and put Grant Murphy on Graham, and we did a good job on Cook as well in the second half."
Graham was held to only two points in the second half's first 10 minutes as the Chargers took control and Cook was shut out after intermission.
Midway through the third quarter, MacArthur led 32-31 before Diggs sank a trey that sparked a struggling Charger offense.
"Coach said 'knock one down, knock another down for me,' and I said, 'OK, Coach," Diggs said. "He told me to keep moving the ball and keep attacking the basket."
Diggs' trey was answered by Craig Pindell's tying two free throws. But Deane and Diggs ended the third period with baskets and Murphy started the fourth with another to give the Chargers a 40-34 lead they would not relinquish as MacArthur never got closer than four points.
MacArthur, however, stayed within striking range and cut its deficit to 47-43 on Graham's two free throws with 1:12 left. Deane and Demari Edwards sank two free throws each in the next 30 seconds to seal the outcome. Edwards also had a key three-point play with three minutes left.
Memorial's defense limited MacArthur to 4-of-24 shooting from the field in the second half.
"If we hit just one big shot down the stretch and cut it two or three we could have maybe won," MacArthur coach Kevin Harrington said. "They were turning the ball over against our pressure, we just couldn't do anything with it. We probably had eight or 10 empty possessions after timeouts. That hurt."
And so did some missed first-half opportunities.
"We should've been up six or eight points at half, but we weren't," Harrington said. "We didn't close out the first or second quarter very good."
Besides Murphy, two other Chargers starters - Anthony White and Devin Perez - were on the 2010 team that reached the title game.
For the rest, including Diggs, the state final will be a new experience. Diggs has never played in a title game at any level.
"It's a wonderful feeling, I'm at a loss for words," Diggs said. "I am truly blessed to be playing for a championship."
OKC McGuinness 50, Chickasha 40: The Fighting Irish trailed 27-19 midway through the third quarter before rallying.
Greg Roberts had all nine of his points in the fourth quarter for McGuinness. Roberts' trey with 5:54 left gave McGuinness a 35-34 lead it didn't relinquish. Love made 7-of-8 free throws in the fourth quarter. Will Lienhard added 10 points for McGuinness.
Joey Sylvester and E.J. Golightly led the Fightin' Chicks (17-11) with 15 points each.
"Chickasha is a very good team," Durham said. "Our defense carried us on a bad offensive night."
And that also was the case on Friday for Memorial to set up the title showdown between 5A's top two ranked teams.
Their two bigs (Love and Lienhard) will give us some matchup problems probably," Savage said. "All we know to do is get after them with man to man defense and I promise you we will play hard and be ready for the challenge."
Thursday at Sapulpa
Memorial 72, Carl Albert 46
OKC McGuinness 51, Edison 46
Lawton Mac 55, Noble 44
Chickasha 52, OKC Southeast 50
Friday at Mabee Center
Memorial 51, Lawton Mac 43
OKC McGuinness 50, Chickasha 40
Saturday at ORU Mabee Center
No. 2 Memorial (22-5) vs. No. 1 OKC McGuinness (24-4), 1:45 p.m.
MEMORIAL 51, LAWTON MAC 43
Lawton Mac (18-9): Graham 20, Beckett 9, Cook 6, Pindell 6, Williams 2.
Memorial (22-5): Diggs 11, Deane 9, Edwards 9, Murphy 9, Perez 5, Cockrell 4, White 4.
OKC MCGUINNESS 50, CHICKASHA 40
Chickasha (17-11): Sylvester 15, Golightly 14, Dufur 5, Goombi 5.
OKC McGuinness (24-4): Love 16, Lienhard 10. Roberts 9, Canfield 7, Lopez 5, Amalong 3.
Original Print Headline: Chargers get another championship shot
Barry Lewis 918-581-8393
Memorial's Demari Edwards goes in for a layup against Lawton Mac's Darius Graham (33), during Friday's 5A state semifinal win at the Mabee Center. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World