TULSA— The Muskogee Roughers had been down this road before plenty of times. Five points or less was the deficit in seven of the Roughers losses this season.
Saturday night at Daniel Webster High School in the Class 6A East Area Consolation finals,
they opted for a different outcome as the Roughers sealed their spot in the state tournament for the first time in four years with a 49-44 win over Booker T. Washington
Cheers, smiles, and tears were unleashed from fans, players and coaches as David Beasley sealed the game with a pair of free throws.
“This is what everyone dreams of. This is what every kid dreams of. Late at night outside, winning the game with the clutch shots,” said Beasley, who finished with 18 points.
Roughers head coach Josh Berry smiled as his Rougher squad (14-12) hoisted their ticket to state in the form of area title trophy. It had to be a relief of sorts.
“Every game we have played has been close. It’s been a few free throws here, a few turnovers there,” said Berry. “We are in one of the toughest conferences and in the playoffs you throw records away. It’s just two teams going at it. And we survived a fight today and we are very fortunate to walk away and head on.”
The Roughers went up 41-35 with 5:01 left in the game after Beasley would drive in the lane to score, but the lead was gone within 2:32 seconds when two free throws from Tariq Bitson, a putback shot from Chris Miller, and another pair of free throws from Kevin Sims tied the game up at 41 with 2:29 remaining.
Muskogee would regain the lead when Beasley would score with 2:00 left and would also sink two free throws with 43 seconds left after two quick Booker T fouls sent the Roughers into the bonus, to put the Roughers up 45-41.
After a Sims free throw with 38.7 seconds left made it a three-point game, Anthony King would take the ball to the hole and would draw contact on a missed layup. But no call was made, allowing the Hornets’ Myles Tease to take the ball down the court for a score to make it a 45-44 game with 24 seconds left.
Another Booker T foul would give the Roughers back the ball which set up King getting fouled. He sank both free throws with 21 seconds left to give the Roughers a 47-44 lead. Sims’ missed 3-pointer was rebounded by Tramal Ivy, who passed Beasley who would draw the foul with 0.8 left. Beasley’s facial expression indicated “goal accomplished” when he sank both free throws
King had 7 points and 4 rebounds. Ivy knew it was his about time his squad got to go to State and he definitely helped the cause with 8 points and 12 rebounds.
“It feels great,” he said. “Our team played great. We came out and put our foot on their throat and never stopped fighting.”
This is the first time both the Lady Roughers and Roughers are heading to the state tournament since 1988. The girls clinched their spot with an area championship win on Thursday. Muskogee boys will face Putnam City West, the last team they met in the tournament in a quarterfinal loss in 2010. The girls will draw Midwest City. Times and locations will be released later today by the OSSAA.
“They put in a lot of work. I’m proud for my team, proud for Muskogee,” said Berry. “We are going to join the girls, and it is going to be a great one.”
Bitson lead Booker T. Washington with 14 points and had 8 rebounds. Sims had 12 points and Miller had 8.