Jordan London’s offense was obvious, but it was a defensive play that might have turned the tide for the Tigers.
London snatched the ball from Muldrow’s Gherrold Killebrew’s grasp in the backcourt and getting control of the ball underneath the basket with a defender tight on him, chose to flip the ball to teammate Jordan Hill for a layup that tied the game for the 10th time at 58 with a little over a minute to play.
Then it was back to offense as he hit three free throw down the stretch, taking a 63-58 win over the defending champs, ranked just outside the 4A top 10 at 11.
London finished with 22 points.
“Coach always teaches unselfish play and (Hill) was right there,” London said. “They’re a good team but we played pretty good tonight.”
Hill, who joined London on the all-tourney team, had averaged 17 1/2 points in the first two games. But in this one, the layup was just his third field goal of the contest. He finished with nine points, but he got plenty of teammates picking up the slack. Ned Adair had 10 points, including the first six points of the game for the Tigers, all inside the paint. Zack Lindley also was in double figures with 10 points.
The championship is the Tigers’ first in the tourney since 2009, and raised their record to 14-3. The No. 8 team in 4A didn’t make the finals a year ago.
“It was a hard-fought game and we knew it would be back and forth,” said Tigers coach Gary Hendrix. “They hit some big shots, we hit some big shots, they played good defense and we had some good defense. This was a good high school game.”
“It was fun and I’m glad for the kids,” he added. “They play hard. I told them as long as we keep working hard we’re going to get better and hopefully we’ll continue to get better.”
Killebrew had 15 and D’Andre Owens 13 points for the Bulldogs (11-6), ranked 11th in 4A. Owens and Dominic Blue made the all-tourney team.
Stilwell (12-6) took third with a 56-44 win over Inola (11-7), which put Aaron Davis on the all-tourney team. Fifth went to Wagoner, a 71-46 winner over Eufaula. Garrett Jackson led four Bulldogs (7-11) in double figures with 15 points, followed by all-tourney selection Kerwin Thomas with 14 and Byron Adams and Decarius Clark, each with 13. Eufaula (10-7) got 14 points from both Cody Faries and Devin Garfield.