Special to The Sun
Dontae Campbell and Broken Arrow made things tough on the Edmond Memorial Bulldogs. But senior Jordan Woodard stepped up to save the day.
The No. 2-ranked Bulldogs led the entire time during the first round of the Class 6A state tournament Thursday night at the Mabee Center. But a possible third straight trip to the championship game was very much in doubt as the No. 6-ranked Tigers trailed just 55-52 with 3.7 seconds left.
The Bulldogs had missed the front end of a one-and-one with seven seconds left to give Broken Arrow life. But Woodard closed the deal when he got a hand on Jordan Phelps' potential game-tying three-pointer as time expired.
It's not exactly how head coach Shane Cowherd had his defense drawn up.
"We didn't execute," he said. "We wanted to give a foul (before the shot). But Jordan was cramping up and couldn't get to them quick enough. When he tried to block the shot, he about gave me a heart attack."
Despite its close call, Edmond Memorial (24-2) advanced to Friday's semifinal round where it will face Owasso (23-3) at 6 p.m.
Woodard finished with 19 points and Shaquille Morris came on strong offensively in the second half to finish with a team-high 23 points and 13 rebounds.
Campbell finished with 25 points to lead Broken Arrow. The Tiger senior scored his team's first 12 points of the game.
"We knew we were going to pick a poison with them," Cowherd said. "That was the option we were going to live with."
Despite Campbell's early offensive fireworks, it was the Bulldogs who got off to the strong start, going up 6-0 early. The Bulldogs held Broken Arrow scoreless the final 4:53 of the first quarter as they led 16-7.
Woodard had 10 points in the first half as Edmond Memorial led 29-22 at halftime despite just six points from Morris.
"Jordan doesn't get too high, he doesn't get too low," Cowherd said. "No situation is too big for him. Our guys follow that."
Morris, who had a five-inch advantage over the tallest Broken Arrow player, began to assert himself offensively in the third quarter. The 6-foot-9 senior had three dunks within an 80-second span as the Bulldog lead grew to 10 at 44-34 with 2:24 left in the quarter.
But Edmond Memorial could not shake the Tigers, who were making their first state tournament appearance since 2008. Broken Arrow used a 10-1 run to close the gap to 45-44 with 6:02 remaining.
Morris continued to answer for the Bulldogs with six points in a three minute period down the stretch.
"That's got to be a focus for us all the time," Cowherd said. "We've got to exploit that matchup every time."
Jordan Huffman finished with 11 points for Broken Arrow. His final two came on a outback with 8.4 seconds left to cut the Bulldog lead to 55-52.
But Edmond Memorial hung on. And aspirations for a second state crown in three years remain intact.
"We found a way to win," Cowherd said. "But we'll have to play better if we want to play two more nights."
EDMOND MEMORIAL 55, BROKEN ARROW 52
Broken Arrow 7 15 17 13 - 52
Edmond Memorial 16 13 16 10 - 55
Broken Arrow - Jordan Phelps 3 0-0 8, Jordan Huffman 5 0-0 11, Trenton Cantrell 2 0-0 4, Dontae Campbell 11 0-0 25, Frankie Davis 2 0-2 4. Team: 23 0-2 52
Edmond Memorial - Jordan Woodard 7 4-6 19, Tyler Holcomb 2 0-1 5, Aaron Young 4 0-0 8, Shaquille Morris 8 7-9 23. Team: 21 11-16 55