Stephen C. Smith Sr.
Times Record News
Who says 3-point shooting contests are just for halftime entertainment?
Oklahoma used Katie Birch’s win in the 3-point shooting contest as a springboard in a 69-55 win over Texas in the Oil Bowl Girls’ Basketball Classic Thursday night at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.
“It was great that we were able to win the contest,” said Birch, “but it was even better because I think we all started feeling more comfortable afterwards.”
The player that seemed to feel the most comfortable in the second half was Oklahoma’s Earnesia Williams.
After two first-quarter baskets, the University of Texas signee came alive in the second half and finished with 13 points and eight rebounds to walk away with the game’s Most Valuable Player honors.
“I just started moving more and getting into the flow of the game,” Williams said. “My teammates and I started getting open on the fast-break and we made some things happen.
“Plus, there was some extra energy brought back to the bench when Katie won. It just kind of got everybody fired up.”
Oklahoma ’s rebounding advantage didn’t hurt much either. Led by Megan Byford (10 points, 12 rebounds), they out-muscled Texas 46-24 on the boards, including 18 on the offensive end.
“I think we crashed the boards really well considering that we were out-sized overall, especially at the guard position,” Oklahoma coach Darrick Farriell said. “We also did a better job of pushing the ball up the court than they did.
“It cost us some turnovers, but we were able to get a lot of easy buckets out of it.”
Turnovers and the rebounding disparity haunted Texas all night as they were able to chip away at Oklahoma’s 24-18 halftime lead, but that was about all they were able to do.
“I don’t know what the rebounding stats were, but it had to be horrendous,” Texas coach Kit Kyle Puckett said. “We talked about it at halftime. If we didn’t start to rebound the ball better, we would not win. Unless we got on the boards and stopped giving them extra shots, we weren’t going to win.
“And that’s exactly what happened — we didn’t win.”
Dominic Seals and Courtney Darwin each scored third-quarter baskets to tie the game at 32-32 and then again at 34-34 with 2:10 remaining, but that was as close as they would come.
“We didn’t shoot the ball very well and Oklahoma was able to counter every run we were able to make at them,” Puckett said. “We had trouble containing Williams on the inside with rebounding and creating shots for other people.
“She’s a very talented young lady and once she got going, we just couldn’t play catch-up.”
Jennifer Colli led Texas with 13 points while Amanda Brown, Farren Fox and Ashley Leffingwell all had eight points each. Whitney Rice added 13 points, including three 3-pointers, for Oklahoma.
Oklahoma now leads the all-time series, 4-2.
Staff sports writer Stephen C. Smith Sr. can be reached after 6:30 p.m. at 1-800-627-1646 or (940) 720-3470. Or you can e-mail him at email@example.com
Times Record News
Oklahoma’s Michael McNeil was enjoying himself so much at the 10th Oil Bowl Basketball Classic Thursday at D.L. Ligon Coliseum, he didn’t want the night to end.
The 6-4 forward from Edmond North repeatedly made clutch shots in the fourth quarter, turning a Texas blowout into a nip-and-tuck affair.
His reward: a 99-90 overtime victory for Oklahoma and a Most Valuable Player plaque to carry back across the Red River.
“We just kept playing hard and didn’t quit,” said McNeil, moments after scoring a game-high 24 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. “There were better players on the court (than me), but I had a good game. I had a blast.”
The modest McNeil was the difference, but it was Midwestern State signee Russell Button who left Indians’ fans with a hopeful glimpse of the future.
Making his debut on his soon-to-be home floor, Button had a team-best 22 points and four assists. He converted key fourth-quarter free throws and ran Texas’ offense most of the night.
“I was very impressed with him,” Texas coach Jeff Evans (Amarillo Palo Duro) said. “He’s a very competitive kid, and he’s going to be a good one.”
While the game went back and forth the first three quarters, Texas finally made a move to open the fourth.
It built a 69-52 lead with 4:33 remaining, highlighted by Booker Woodfox’s half-court heave that beat the buzzer to end the third. That prayer of a basket triggered an 18-2 Texas run.
But Oklahoma, which now leads the series 3-1, wasn’t going to let its neighbors to the South take the game that easily.
“If you’re playing anybody that’s any good, you know when you have a run, they’re going to have a run,” Evans said. “I knew that was going to happen.”
Oklahoma slowly whittled the lead down, finally tying it on Chris Rhymes’ 3-point floater with three seconds left. Rhymes finished with 20 points, none bigger than those three.
It then carried the momentum into overtime, outscoring Texas 19-10 during that four-minute span.
McNeil, though, was the reason for the comeback. He scored 10 points in the final three minutes of the fourth and connected on 8-of-14 shots from the field.
“He was our sparkplug,” Oklahoma coach Tommy Griffin said.
That’s exactly what Button, Woodfox and Irving’s Marquez Haynes were for the Texas squad. The trio combined for 55 points and eight assists, penetrating Oklahoma’s defense numerous times for easy baskets.
Haynes, a Boston College signee, also went home with the slam-dunk title.
Justin Taylor, another Edmond North standout, totaled 19 points while OU-bound Taylor Griffin added 13 for the winning side.
Graham’s Lee Berend scored six of his seven points in the first half and also collected six boards. Riley Lambert, formerly from Henrietta, had four points and five boards.
Staff sports writer Zach Duncan can be reached weekdays after 4 p.m. by calling 720-3470 or 1-800-627-1646. Or e-mail him at duncanz(at)timesrecordnews.com.
Time Record News
Gerald Jones, the owner of the single-season rushing record in Oklahoma high school football history, is headed to the 68th Oil Bowl game.
The 5-11, 175-pounder ran for 3,779 yards and 54 touchdowns in leading Pawnee to the Class 2A state championship his senior year.
He averaged better than 11 yards per carry during a season that ended with his 282-yard rushing performance in a 31-14 win over Tonkawa in the state title game.
Jones has won state championships in the 100-meter dash the past two years and has the Class 2A state-best time of 10.39 this season.
He will attend junior college at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in the fall.
Jones is one of 30 All-State players chosen to be on the Oklahoma roster in the annual Maskat Shrine Temple charity game against Texas on June 18 at Memorial Stadium.
Tulsa University has the most representation of any Division I school on the Oklahoma roster. Four of the five players signed by the Golden Hurricane — Jenks’ Jesse Meyer, Tulsa East Central’s Popsie Floyd, Comanche’s Jody Whaley and Coweta’s Curt Puckett — are coming to the Oil Bowl.
Oklahoma State will be represented by three players — Vinita’s Noah Franklin, Tulsa Union’s Brock Dixon and Edmond Memorial’s Cole Reynolds.
NEO, with six, has the most players on the Oklahoma roster.
Times Record News
Less than two months after leading the Henrietta High School football team to its first state semifinal appearance in school history, Tom Howard has been selected to coach in the 68th Oil Bowl game.
“I am excited and honored,” Howard said. “This is an honor for our entire coaching staff and program.”
Howard will join Gainesville’s Jeff Cordell and McKinney’s Todd McVey on the coaching staff for the Texas all-star team.
Don Hendrix of Muskogee Hilldale will head up the coaching staff for the Oklahoma all-stars, which includes Butch Rawls of Holdenville and Phil Elerick of Cashion.
The two coaching staffs will get together in Wichita Falls today for a press conference and planning sessions for the annual all-star game, which will be played at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 18, in Memorial Stadium.
Inheriting a tough schedule when he took the Henrietta job in 1998, Howard lost 21 straight games before getting his first win with the Bearcats.
But in the 2000 season, he led the team to an 8-4 record and the school’s first football district championship in 26 years.
In 2004, Howard’s seventh season, Henrietta went 12-2, its only two losses coming against state champion Boyd.
Howard, Cordell and McVey will be trying to get Texas a second straight Oil Bowl win.
The Texans blew past Oklahoma, 40-10, last year to increase the state’s series advantage to 41-17-1.
The 68th Oil Bowl will be dedicated to former Baylor coach Grant Teaff, who coached the Oil Bowl in 1964 and 1971. Currently the executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, Teaff will be honored at the Oil Bowl banquet on Friday, June 17, and at the game the following night.
The Oil Bowl also features a doubleheader night of basketball matching both boys and girls teams from Texas and Oklahoma. Those games will be played on Thursday, June 16, in D.L. Ligon Coliseum.
This year’s basketball games will be dedicated to former Midwestern State coach Gerald Stockton. Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton will take part in the dedication ceremony.
The event is sponsored by the Maskat Shrine Temple of Wichita Falls and benefits crippled children charities in Texas and Oklahoma.
Sports Editor Nick Gholson can be reached before 4 p.m. weekdays by calling (940) 720-3447 or 1-800-627-1644 (ext. 447). Or you can e-mail him at gholsonn(at)timesrecordnews.com.
Times Record News
Once again, quarterback won’t be a problem for the Texas Oil Bowl team.
Both the Class 5A and Class 4A all-state quarterbacks will be on the Texas roster for the 68th edition of the Maskat Shrine Temple’s annual all-star football game June 18 at Memorial Stadium.
The combined 2004 statistics for Southlake Carroll’s Chase Daniel and Rider’s Blake Szymanski are staggering.
Together, they had exactly 10,500 yards of total offense and 124 touchdowns.
They completed 576 passes for 8,665 yards and 93 touchdowns. Their completion percentage was 62.5. Only 30 of their 922 passes were picked off.
They also ran for a combined 1,835 yards and 31 touchdowns.
Daniel led Carroll to a 16-0 record, the Class 5A Division II state title and USA Today’s mythical national championship. He completed 298 of 457 passes for 4,582 yards and 48 touchdowns and also ran 247 times for 1,400 yards and 21 TDs.
The 6-1, 218-pound Parade All-American and E.A. Sports National Player of the Year signed with Missouri.
The 6-4, 195-pound Szymanski will join Daniel in the Big 12 Conference.
After leading Rider to an 11-3 record last year, he signed with Baylor.
Szymanski completed 278 of 465 passes for 4,083 yards and 45 touchdowns. He ran 136 times for 435 yards and 10 TDs.
The Rider quarterback is one of six area players on the Texas roster.
Joining him are Wichita Falls High defensive tackle David Gross, Hirschi linebacker Darius Allen, Henrietta kicker Tyler Wolf, Vernon running back Anthony Hall and Bowie running back-linebacker Major Henderson.
Fifteen NCAA Division I colleges are represented on the Texas roster, including seven Big 12 Conference schools.
Texas Tech has the most players in the game with four.
Seven of Rivals.com top 100 Texas players are on the roster — McKinney defensive tackle Lorenzo Jones (32), Duncanville defensive back Gremon Coffman (42), Corsicana offensive lineman Louis Vasquez (47), Daniel (49), Hebron defensive end Phillip Jons (76), Waco linebacker Shon Brown (91) and Keller wide receiver Andrew Richards (97).
Stephen C. Smith Sr.
Times Record News
In what was billed as an offensive shootout, it was Oklahoma’s defense that left its indelible mark on the 68th Oil Bowl Football Classic in a dominating 38-7 win Saturday night in front of 8,500 fans at Memorial Stadium.
When you consider that Texas’ longest play from scrimmage all night was actually on Shon Brown’s 20-yard return of a fourth-quarter fumble recovery, it should provide all the insight anyone could need.
The 31-point winning margin is the largest in Oil Bowl history, surpassing Oklahoma’s 41-13 win in 1999.
“Last year, Texas came out and whipped up on us pretty good,” Felix Jones said. “I just appreciated the way my teammates came out and played to best of their abilities.”
Oklahoma defensive lineman Michael Cowen was named defensive most valuable player with 2.5 tackles, a fumble recovery and a sack.
“I thought our defense would be pretty good,” Oklahoma coach Don Hendrix said. “We made a couple of adjustments by widening the linebackers and just daring them to run it.
“We thought we had a bit of a size advantage if they decided to do that.”
The Oklahoma defense not only bottled up the Texas offense, but it also didn’t allow it out of its own territory until the 3-minute mark of the second quarter, which also was about the same time it was finally able to gets its second first down of the night.
While the defense was limiting Texas to eight offensive plays in the first quarter, along with three sacks, a fumble and an interception over the course of the first half, offensive MVP Andrew Brewer and the Oklahoma offense were taking full advantage.
And it managed to do the vast majority of its work in Texas territory.
Brewer finished the night with a 3-yard keeper for one touchdown and a 1-yard pass to William Bencoma for another in the second quarter.
“They just outplayed us,” Texas coach Tom Howard said. “They out-coached and out-schemed us, too. Their kids came out ready to play and our kids didn’t and that’s all I can say about it.”
Oklahoma led 19-0 before Blake Szymanski led Texas on its lone scoring drive just before halftime, ending with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Lacey to make the score 19-7.
Texas quarterbacks Szymanski and Chase Daniel were held to a combined 13-for-33 passing for 127 yards with two interceptions and plenty of frustrated, confused looks.
“Early in the game, anything that could go wrong for us went wrong,” Howard said. “We just never did recover from it – we were never able to recover.”
Hirschi’s Darius Allen finished with four tackles while Wichita Falls High School’s David Gross had a sack and two solo tackles in their Memorial Stadium finales. Vernon’s Anthony Hall had four rushes for eight yards and Bowie’s Phillip Hood recorded one solo tackle.
Staff sports writer Stephen C. Smith Sr. can be reached after 6:30 p.m. at 1-800-627-1646 or (940) 720-3470. Or you can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.