Midwest City’s second Tournament of Champions boys title in three years came much differently than its first.
In 2015, Midwest City won the TofC after entering as a big favorite, led by high-scoring Keyshawn Embery and another sophomore, Jalen Redmond.
This year, Midwest City was not the favorite and may have been No. 4 if there had been pre-tournament seedings. Embery, an Arkansas signee, transferred to IMG Academy in Florida, and Redmond gave up basketball and signed to play football at Oklahoma.
However, the Class 6A No. 6 Bombers, with balanced scoring, knocked off 5A’s top two teams, Memorial and MWC Carl Albert, en route to the championship Friday night at Mabee Center.
“It was just a great team effort,” Midwest City coach Dewayne Bradley said.
After Embery averaged 29 points in six TofC games over the previous two years, the Bombers were led this time by Oklahoma Christian signee D.J. Walter, who averaged 16.3 points. Walter and teammate J.D. Ray were all-tournament, first-team selections as Midwest City made a statement that it can be a state title contender again despite the early departures of two major college athletes.
“This is pretty special because of what we’ve gone through,” Bradley said. “The guys just kept doing things to help themselves out, and are just getting better. We beat two really good teams. I really appreciate this one.”
Midwest City also avenged an 88-73 loss to Carl Albert last January when the Titans’ Mason Harrell scored 47.
“Believe me, I kept reminding them all day long how many points Mason Harrell scored,” Bradley said. “He’s the best point guard in the state of Oklahoma. People (major colleges) are crazy not be after him.
“I thought we really did a good job of containing him in the second half.”
Harrell, the tournament’s most valuable player and top scorer, was held to three points in the final quarter of Midwest City’s 70-64 win in the title game. The teams could meet again in three weeks in Carl Albert’s Titan Invitational.
Memorial senior Kori Guest had a career-high 27 points in the 89-66 victory over Booker T. Washington in the third-place game. Guest, who is averaging 13 points, scored 19 and had the game-winning shot to defeat Union in the Durant Invitational final three weeks ago.
Guest had quick offensive starts in both the TofC semifinals and third-place game. And he also had a strong defensive game against Washington sharp-shooter Bryce Thompson.
“Kori is applying the scouting report,” Memorial coach Bobby Allison said. “When we say, ‘Go to the boards,’ Kori, goes to the boards. That shot he hit against Union, that’s the kind of shot that gives you confidence, makes you think you’re an All-Stater. That can be a springboard for him.”
Allison said the semifinal loss to Midwest City has already proven to be beneficial, particularly for guards Shemar Walker, Craig Webb and James Alexandre.
”The pressure against Midwest City made us realize, we didn’t do some good things against the pressure, so I was proud of the kids, especially Shemar, Craig and James to take those lessons and apply them to a victory,” Allison said.
Memorial will take a 12-1 record into its first game of 2018 against Central on Jan. 9.
“If you told me before the season we would be 12-1 with wins against Norman North, Union and Booker T., I would say that would make for a good New Year’s Eve,” Allison said.
Pratt’s big game
Sperry senior Jace Pratt, with 40 points Friday in a seventh-place win over Ringwood, joined Embery and Shake Milton (twice) as the only boys to score that many points in the TofC in this decade.
“That’s an awesome feeling,” Pratt said. “I shot bad the first two games, but I found my rhythm. It was fun playing in the tournament.”
Sperry assistant Mark Vancuren was Milton’s head coach at Owasso.
Rebel Paulk, who was the TofC’s MVP in 1997 when he led Blanchard to the consolation title, was inducted into the TofC Hall of Fame on Friday. ...
Carl Albert was involved in the only three boys games that were decided by single-digit margins.
Player, School Ht Grade Avg.
x-Mason Harrell, MWC CA 5-8 Sr. 31.0
Keylan Boone, Memorial 6-7 Jr. 18.7
Robert Briley, Wright City 6-5 Sr. 22.0
Trey Hopkins, MWC CA 6-4 Sr. 19.3
J.D. Ray, Midwest City 5-10 Jr. 13.0
D.J. Walter, Midwest City 6-5 Sr. 16.3
Player, School Ht Grade Avg.
Kalib Boone, Memorial 6-7 Jr. 16.3
Kori Guest, Memorial 6-5 Sr. 15.7
Jacob Germany, Kingston 6-10 Jr. 18.0
Trey Phipps, B.T.W. 6-1 So. 18.7
Josh Rivers, Midwest City 5-11 Sr. 12.7
Bryce Thompson, B.T.W. 6-5 So. 17.0
Mason Harrell, MWC Carl Albert, 93; Robert Briley, Wright City, 66; Jace Pratt, Sperry, 63; Trey Hopkins, MWC Carl Albert, 58; Trey Phipps, B.T. Washington, 57; Keylan Boone, Memorial, 56; Jacob Germany, Kingston, 54; Camden Patterson, Ringwood, 52; Bryce Thompson, B.T. Washington, 51; Kori Guest, Memorial, 50.
Kalib Boone, Memorial, 40; Robert Briley, Wright City, 32; Jacob Germany, Kingston, 31; Jeremiah Decker, Ringwood, 27; Keylan Boone, Memorial, 26; Camden Patterson, Ringwood, 26; Jaedan Pool, MWC Carl Albert, 25.