CNHI News Service
For 31 minutes and 59 seconds, Jordan Woodard was having the worst game of his high school career. Playing on an injured hamstring the Edmond Memorial senior struggled through what looked to be a crushing loss to Midwest City in the 6A state championship.
However, all it took was one second for Woodard to go from despair to jubilation as he came up with a last-second basket to lead the Bulldogs to a 49-48 victory over the Bombers at the Mabee Center in Tulsa.
“I just had to leave it all on the line for my teammates,” Woodard said. “Just fight through it. I knew my teammates were relying on me to come up with a big play. I did that for my teammates. It’s a blessing.”
The title is the second for the Bulldogs (26-2) in the last three years. But they were one rebound away from going home with the silver ball instead.
After trailing by double digits points in the first half, Midwest City (27-2) roared back and held a 48-44 lead with 30 seconds left on the clock. The game seemed to be all but over.
Edmond’s Aaron Young was fouled and he hit 1-of-2 from the line. On the next possession Shaq Morris came up with a tip-in basket of a Woodard miss to close gap to 48-47 with less than 10 seconds left. All the Bombers needed to do was get the ball in bounds and hit their free throws.
But that is when Woodard turned into Superman. As MWC threw the ball inbound, Woodard made a diving steal and threw back to his teammates as he fell out of bounds. Edmond’s Tyler Holcomb had two point blank shots in traffic at the basket but both bounced off the rim.
But on the second shot, Woodard flew in for the game-winning tip a split second before time expired. Half the crowd erupted and the other half stood in disbelief at what they had just witnessed.
“First of all Jordan made an unbelievable steal,” Edmond coach Shane Cowherd said. “Great players have great moments. Tyler had a good look. It rimmed in and out. I saw it was coming off and I thought we don’t have a chance. All of a sudden I see his hand come out of nowhere and the tip in. It was divine providence I guess.”
Midwest City’s Torey Noel led the Bombers with 20 points.
Morris paced the Bulldogs with 20 points and 12 rebounds, but scored only four points in the second half. Woodard ended the night with five points. His only field goal was his game-winning tip in.
“Jordan is playing on a torn hamstring,” Cowherd said. “He is playing on one leg. People don’t know that. We told everybody he was fine. We tried to convince Jordan he was fine. But the kid has a hamstring that is basically shredded. The fact that he was able to come out and do what he did on one leg against an aggressive team.. he is the greatest player I have ever had. Maybe the toughest kid I have ever coached. What a winner.”
The first half belonged to Morris. The 6-9 senior was dominant on both ends of the floor. Defensively he swatted soft shot attempts into the stands then came down on offense and threw down several power dunks.
Behind Morris’ 16 points, Edmond led by as much as 12 points in the second quarter. MWC cut the lead to six by halftime.
The Bombers came out flying in the third quarter. Noel attacked Morris in the lane and came away with a few spectacular plays and put MWC back into the contest.
Momentum was squarely on the Bombers’ side. Then they decided to just stand and hold the ball for the final two minutes of the third quarter. They got off a couple of contested 3-pointers in the last 10 seconds, but neither hit. The game went into the fourth quarter tied at 36-36.
The Bombers owned the first seven minutes of the fourth. But that was not enough to stop the ’Dogs.
“This win is very huge,” said Morris, who will play college ball at Wichita State. “This is everything I ever worked for. It paid off. It took heart. Just heart. Kept fighting and kept fighting. We knew we still had something to fight for.”
Woodard, who will be playing at the University of Oklahoma next year, is bound to play for bigger titles in front of larger crowds. But as of right now, this championship night is one that will stick with him forever.
“This is the best moment of my life right now,” Woodard said. “I haven’t ever felt so thankful. So blessed. I couldn’t imagine going out any better in my high school career.”