OWASSO — Lucky seven struck here Friday, and that first-round monkey on Muskogee’s back got sent out with the disinfectant crew.
Junior forward JaVontae Campbell had 34 points, 16 in the fourth after returning to the game with four fouls, and for the first time since 2014, Muskogee escaped a one-and-done in the Class 6A playoffs, advancing to Saturday’s 7 p.m. regional final here after defeating the Bixby Spartans, 95-87.
Posting 35 fourth-quarter points and shooting 60 percent (30-of-50) on the night, the Roughers (11-4) will take on Owasso, a 71-56 winner over Tulsa Washington. It was the most points scored in a game since a 96-45 win over McAlester in December, which at the time was the most since a 102-75 win against Skiatook in 2007.
Campbell picked up his fourth foul with 4:48 to go in the third, putting him on the bench. Muskogee, which led by eight on several occasions in the third, held firm until the final two minutes when the Spartans finished the quarter on a 10-2 run to lead 61-60 heading to the fourth on Parker Friedrichsen’s layup at the buzzer.
He, along with teammate Xavier Glenn had all of the Spartans’ 25 third-quarter points, Glenn with 15 of them and would finish the night with 40 points. In fact, he and Friedrichsen combined for 71 points all told.
Wade opted to leave Campbell sitting to start the fourth. Bixby took advantage, getting a 3 by Weaver and a steal and layup by Friedrichsen for its biggest advantage, 66-60, and leading to a Muskogee timeout with 6:29 to go.
Xavier Brown canned a 3, Campbell drew a bucket and one off a foul from Luke Hasz — his fourth and second within a minute of play, and Jaraun Campbell’s putback made it a 68-67 Roughers advantage.
The two teams go about three minutes without missing a shot before the game shifted to the free-throw line. Campbell drew another foul on a drive from Hasz, ending his night with 25.5 left. Hasz frequently was chippy with Campbell, knocking him into the wall behind the Muskogee basket on a foul in the first half.
“I had to get him out,” Campbell said.
Campbell had three baskets and reversed his fortune with the whistles, hitting 10 of 11 after returning to the game.
“Yes sir, it was tough,” said Campbell about the nearly six-minute rest. “But we came back. Let’s go get it done tomorrow.”
He’s definitely capable of showing the way, as Roughers coach Lynwood Wade noted.
“He’s a winner. He never gets down, he never pouts,” Wade said. “Putting him on their big man and playing well at both ends, getting those two quick charges. I mean, he closed the game for us. He knows how to get it done.”
Campbell, or “Soup” as he’s called by his coaches and teammates, got a nice hand from senior guard Xavier Brown, who had 24 points, including six 3s, four in the first half that saw the Roughers lead 41-36 at the break.
“We wanted this bad. We went out and fought for it and it’s a huge load off our backs. Man it’s a great relief,” said Brown.
As it was for Wade, who saw his squad come out of a two-week winter freeze with a seven-game win streak and stumble in the regular season finale at Bartlesville on Monday.
“To go through that and come back out on the road and get this win, I couldn’t be more proud of them.” he said.
Also for Muskogee, junior forward Jaraun Campbell had 15 points and senior guard James Brown had 12.
“I’ve been saying all along. Collectively, we’re a good team,” Wade said. “When we’re playing selfishly and locking down on defense, we’re hard to stop.”
Coached by former Warner coach Sam Fairchild and assisted by ex-Hilldale girls coach Lance Kight, Bixby, which went 1-2 against Muskogee this season and hadn’t played since Feb. 5, finished 10-5. Muskogee came in ranked 14th, Bixby 15th in the final 6A poll.
Owasso and the Roughers have split two games this season.