, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

March 2, 2014

Fort Gibson squads one step from state

FORT GIBSON – Jordan London played like a man possessed in the Class 4A Area IV regional championship game Saturday at Harrison Field House.

The junior finished with a game-high 23 points, tied for team honors with six rebounds and stole the ball seven times to lead the No. 6 Tigers to a 56-42 win over Broken Bow.

“Jordan has got a knack for understanding the game of basketball,” said Fort Gibson coach Gary Hendrix. “Things that I don’t coach or anybody coaches, he makes plays that kids with just some natural instinct make.”

Of his seven steals, none was bigger that the one at the start of the fourth quarter with the Tigers  leading 37-32. London intercepted Broken Bow’s inbounds pass, made a layup and converted a free throw to give Fort Gibson (23-3) a 40-32 advantage.

“I was just trying to force a turnover,” London said. “I knew we needed a big bucket to get our energy going.”

The game was played at a slow pace, mainly on the part of the Savages (17-8) playing keep away. However, when the Tigers were able to gain possession, they made Broken Bow pay by grabbing a 13-10 advantage after the first eight minutes.

The slow pace continued in the second quarter as the Savages looked to be headed into the locker room with a 22-20 lead. But London would have nothing to do with that as he made a driving layup and was fouled, making the free throw to give the Tigers the lead at 23-22.

“This win was super important because now we have to win one game instead of three,” London said. “Now if we lose on Friday, we still have another chance.”

When London was not creating havoc, his teammates were picking up the slack. Coleman Crawley finished with 14 points while Dalton Cunningham and Stephen Edwards were pulling down six and five rebounds, respectively.

“We just wanted to come out with energy,” Crawley said. “I think we did a good job of doing that. They tried to hold the ball against us and we did a good job of being patient on offense and not getting out of our game.”

Hendrix was equally as pleased with his team’s overall performance.

“At this point everybody’s good,” Hendrix said. “They did a good job of slowing the tempo down and making us play a different style. I’m very proud of our guys responding. Stephen Edwards, who’s been sick, made some big plays and came up with some big baskets for us. All the kids played extremely hard.”

The Tigers will now face top-ranked Victory Christian in the area championship at 8 p.m. Friday in Wilburton with the winner advancing to the state tournament.

“We’ll have our hands full,” Hendrix said. “But, we’re going to celebrate this then get ready. We’ve got one out of two shots to get to play to go to state and that’s all you can ask for.”

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