Just maybe, this is the one that finally takes. Maybe, this time it’s different.
Before the season began, second-year Sooner coach Lon Kruger welcomed NCAA tournament expectations. Saturday afternoon at Lloyd Noble Center, his team put on a Bedlam performance that reinforced the notion.
Not for the first time, because winning in Morgantown, W.V. eight days ago was no small thing.
Saturday, though, was bigger.
Saturday, Oklahoma was led by a freshman, Buddy Hield, as much as anybody else.
Saturday, Amath M’Baye came up with three straight baskets when the Sooners needed them, so maybe he’s finally on to something, too.
Saturday, a crowd of almost 9,000 — no, not what Bedlam used to draw, but a whole lot better than anything’s been in a good long while — cheered almost lustily, desperate to watch something old, like great Sooner basketball, become new again. And with a 77-68 victory, the Sooners delivered, sending the fans home happy, quite possibly looking forward to the next chance to come watch.
So OU’s back?
Perhaps not yet, but it’s a whole lot closer. It’s a whole lot closer and building, too. Nobody wants the embarrassment of prematurely predicting the Sooners’ matriculation, but this has to be close to what everybody’s been looking for.
“They made plays, they played harder,” Oklahoma State’s Markel Brown said. “They did what they had to do to get the win.”
They did, but there was even more to Brown’s answer than that on Bedlam Saturday, because it referenced a particular point in the game, the moments after Le’Bryan Nash canned two free throws to bring the Pokes within a bucket, 52-50, with 9:34 remaining, when OU had let a 14-point lead dwindle to a measly two, waking echoes of so many games last season when Kruger’s first Sooner team would be in good shape until it wasn’t, almost always in the second half, before losing going away.
So Steven Pledger came down and hit a 3-pointer. Bang. Then Brown answered with two free throws to make it a three-point game. Then Pledger was fouled trying to hit another 3-pointer and hit all his free throws.
Bang. Bang. Bang.
Never again was OSU within a basket.
Yes, there was more.
There was Hield, who looks like the first Sooner freshman to graduate beyond rookie status, making big play after big play: turning nothing into something with a nifty alley-oop dish to Romero Osby to beat the first-half buzzer, a baseline drive to open the second half the way the first one ended and a falling-down, hand-in-face 3-pointer that followed Pledger’s three free throws that kept the good times rolling.
Then M’Baye made certain the Pokes were done, making a six-point game a nine-point game with a 3-pointer that put OU up 66-57 with 5:36 remaining, followed by a layup on a dish from Sam Grooms, followed by an alley-oop slam that made it 70-57 with 4 minutes to play, also assisted by Grooms.
M’Baye was asked about his personal seven-point run, but he disagreed with the premise.
“That seven-point stretch wasn’t mine, it was the team’s,” he said. “I thought the team did a great job.”
It’s just want you want to hear from one of the newcomers who’s taken a previous starter’s spot, and M’Baye is one of three starters in that boat. Because you want a humble team and a team that gets along well and the Sooners seem to have that going for them, too.
They’ve got Texas Tech at home next, and only a big letdown should rob them from victory there. Then they’re at Kansas State, OU won’t be favored but it’s winnable. Then Texas back home and the Longhorns are a mess.
It seems like the start of something. And like the fans might even be getting back on board, too.
Saturday was a good day for Sooner basketball.
Just maybe, this is the one that finally takes. Maybe, this time it’s different.
Blake Shelton brings relief concert to Oklahoma City
Blake Shelton has organized and will headline the telethon “Healing in the Heartland: Relief Benefit Concert” on May 29, to take place at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Grammy Award-winning artists Miranda Lambert, Reba and Vince Gill also will perform. Additional guests for the concert will be announced shortly.
The concert will be televised live at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. It also will air on cable networks Style, G4, Bravo, E! and CMT on either a live or delayed basis.
OCU’s Wright playing for Moore
Drew Wright’s heart will be with her hometown of Moore when her Oklahoma City University softball team competes in the NAIA Championships this week. Edmond Santa Fe graduate Kayley Humann, an OCU outfielder, is one of Wright’s teammates.
Wright and the fourth-ranked Stars (50-13) opened national-tournament play against fifth-ranked Cal State San Marcos Friday at South Commons Softball Complex.
The senior third baseman said it was difficult to leave Oklahoma City on Tuesday after a destructive tornado leveled several city blocks of Moore and south Oklahoma City on Monday.
Fortunately, Wright’s family is safe from the tornado that has been hailed as the most severe to hit the area.
Bronchos win 2 straight at NCAA Division II World Series
Kaylee Brunson and Kacie Edwards keyed an 11-hit attack that carried Central Oklahoma to a 7-1 romp over Molloy in the second round of the NCAA Division II Championship Finals in Salem, VA. Friday afternoon at the Moyer Sports Complex.
Brunson and Edwards had three hits apiece and both drove in runs during a big five-run, sixth-inning outburst that turned a precarious 2-0 lead into a comfortable 7-0 cushion as UCO coasted into Sunday’s winner’s bracket finals.
Area camps start May 28
Girls hoop camp kicks off Tuesday
The three head varsity girls basketball coaches (Dandy Peeler, Edmond Memorial; Karlie Free, Edmond North; Paul Bass, Edmond Santa Fe) of Edmond Schools will be hosting a youth basketball camp for girls entering kindergarten-ninth grades at Edmond Memorial High School May 28-31.
The younger kids, entering grades kindergarten-4th, will run from 9 a.m.-noon. The camp will focus on basic fundamentals of the game including shooting, passing, ball handling as well as defensive and offensive skills.
Girls entering grades 5-9 will be in the afternoon camp from 1-4 p.m. The camp will focus on offensive and defensive fundamental skills along with sharpening individual skills through station work and competitive contests.
Cost is $115. Contact Dandy Peeler at 250-4377 for more information.
Still time to register for UCO's Endeavor Games
Registration is open online for athletes and volunteers for the 2013 University of Central Oklahoma Endeavor Games, June 6-9, the nation’s largest multi-sport event for athletes with physical disabilities.
Athletes of all ages or sporting experience are invited to register for the event. Community members are also encouraged to register to volunteer with more than 300 volunteer opportunities available.
Similar to the summer Paralympic Games, athletes may register for multiple adaptive sports, which include cycling, indoor archery, outdoor archery, powerlifting, sitting volleyball, shooting, table tennis, track and field, wheelchair basketball, and, for the first time at the UCO Endeavor Games, paratriathlon. The paratriathlon will be limited to athletes over the age of 16 with previous paratriathlon experience.
UCO opens World Series with a victory
Kalynn Schrock dominated in the pitching circle and Kaylee Brunson came through with a tie-breaking triple to lift Central Oklahoma past fourth-ranked Armstrong Atlantic 5-2 in Salem, Va. Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Division II Championship Finals.
It was the sixth straight postseason win for the No. 19-ranked Bronchos, who improved to 48-11 and moved into today’s 3 p.m. semifinal game against either defending national champion Valdosta State or Malloy.
Schrock gave up just two hits and no walks while striking out 15 — including 10 of the final 12 batters she faced — in improving to 31-6 on the season and 6-0 in the postseason.
Edmond Santa Fe's Taylor heading to Central Florida
Danielle Taylor, fresh off a Central District Youth Rowing Championship victory on the Oklahoma River at the start of the month, followed up the success by signing a letter of intent in rowing with Central Florida at Edmond Santa Fe High School.
Though Santa Fe does not offer rowing as a team sport, Taylor competes for OKC Riversport on the Junior Crew which competes on the Oklahoma River.
Taylor missed her junior season due to an injury, but Coach Brian Ebke knew the Santa Fe athlete would be raring to go her senior season.
“She’s an extremely hard worker,” Ebke lauded. “Her work ethic is impeccable.”
Bronchos hit final match play spot in first round
Dillon Rust got off to a blazing start and ended up shooting a one-under-par 70 to lead Central Oklahoma in the second round of the NCAA Division II Men’s Golf Championships in Hershey, Pa. Tuesday.
Rust birdied four of his first five holes en route to his under-par round and the Bronchos ended up with a 300 on the day, giving them a 36-hole total of 597. The 300 leaves UCO eighth in the 20-team field heading into final round of stroke play, with the top eight teams advancing to match play that will determine the national champion.
Area players earn All-State honors on the diamond
Three area baseball players were selected to the All-State Team this week.
Right-handed pitcher Holden Lyons from Edmond North, made the team after posting a perfect 7-0 mark with an ultra-low 1.29 earned run average.
Deer Creek’s Cole Lindley made it as an outfielder and Oklahoma Christian’s Austin Brooks landed on the list in the designated hitter’s spot.
The threesome will compete on the Large West squad on July 30 at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa.
Tennis camps offered in Edmond
Edmond Raquet Club is offering a pair of tennis camps beginning May 28.
For ages 5-8, a camp is offered from 8:45-9:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and for ages 7-15 a tennis camp is available from 6-6:55 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Both camps run from May 28-June 13 and cost is $99 per camp.
A camp session for ages 8-16 will run on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:30-9:25 a.m. May 29-June 12 for the identical cost.
For more information concerning these camps and others, call 341-4241.
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