Motivation to play wasn’t a problem for Anthony King and the Muskogee Roughers in the Large School Boys semifinal at Ron Milam Gym on Friday night.
King and the Roughers were playing Dustin Givens, the father of sophomore Aaron Givens, who died last week. King, a junior, scored a game-high 22 points as the Roughers topped the McAlester Buffaloes 69-41 to advance to tonight’s final at 9 p.m. against the Jenks Trojans at the Mukogee Civic Center.
“I wanted to play hard for Dustin because he was my second cousin,” King said. “It was hard and emotional playing, but I wanted to play with a passion.”
Players wore t-shirts honoring Dustin Givens with his old uniform No. 44. He graduated from Muskogee in 1991.
“This game was a tribute to Dustin,” first-year MHS coach Joshua Berry said. “I could see the players were motivated because they played hard for four quarters.”
If the Roughers didn’t have enough incentive, they knew a win would put them in the finals against Jenks. The Trojans, coached by former Muskogee coach Clay Martin and the defending tournament champion in the Large School Division, beat Sequoyah 67-55 in the other semifinal. Jenks defeated McAlester for the championship last year and just a week ago, topped the Roughers 70-52 at Ron Milam Gymnasium.
“We’ve got another shot at them,” Berry said. “To also play them for the Shrine title is also an honor.”
Darrion Brown and Todd Dawkins led McAlester (3-7) in scoring with 15 and 11 points, respectively.
McAlester faces Sequoyah at 1:30 p.m. today at the Civic Center for third place.
JENKS 67, SEQUOYAH 55 – Sequoyah came in hoping to lower the hammer on 6A Jenks. But the loss of their own Hammer plus another starter spelled doom as the Trojans, ranked No 6 in 6A by Okrankings.com knocked off the 3A No. 15 Indians at the Civic Center.
After Jenks (7-3) jumped out to an early 7-2 lead, the Indians (6-4) came back to eventually tie the game four times in the first and early second quarter, the last at 17-17. Jenks outscored Sequoyah 10-3 over the next five minutes to grab a 27-20 lead it would never relinquish with 1:50 left in the half. The Indians fought back to make it a five point game at 29-24 Jenks going into the locker room
The third quarter started ominously for Sequoyah as starter BJ Leach, who had six points in the first half, did not return after injuring his knee before halftime. And the Indians senior playmaker Niko Hammer drew his fourth personal foul early in the third quarter and had to sit.
“We are a deep team but still when you lose two of your front line players that’s a problem,” said Indians coach Jay Herrin. ”I do have some kids off the bench who are good players but when we lose those starters it messes up our rotation so that did hurt us.”
Jenks 6-5 center Luke Phillips led the way for the Trojans with 19 points including 11 of 16 free throws. The Trojans move on to play Muskogee the finals tonight at 9 at the Civic Center while Sequoyah will play Hilldale for the consolation championship at 1:30 at the Civic Center.
– Nick Hampton