Edmond Memorial advanced to the championship round of the 60th annual McGuinness Classic with a 50-47 win over the Choctaw YellowJackets Friday night at McCarthy Gymnasium.
“I was proud of our guys, how we bounced back," said Edmond Memorial head coach Shane Cowherd. “We got some injuries going right now so we’re a little undermanned and it was good to watch some of those guys in some of those situations battle adversity and bounce back against a talented group.”
To start the game, Memorial scored on just six of their 16 possessions, forcing them into a hole down 10 with five minutes to go in the first half. It was there Cowherd called a timeout. He said he wanted to get the Bulldogs back to playing like themselves.
“We were playing a little out of character not focusing,” he said. “We’re a very detailed oriented group. [We] try to be very sound, a lot of discipline, a lot of poise and we weren’t doing that. We had a couple of defensive busts that just caused some big moments so it was just getting back to being us and when we focus on us we’re pretty good.”
Out of the timeout, the Bulldogs forced seven turnovers and outscored the YellowJackets 15-0 to end the half up 28-23. Memorial only gave up the lead once the rest of the way, but Choctaw kept the game close.
The Bulldogs received a spark from Keyshon Spotwood as he put together 10 second half points, which included a steal and score in the fourth quarter. Cowherd said that play was huge for the Bulldogs after coming off a situation where he felt like they blew an opportunity to take control of the game.
“At one point in time we had a nine point, lead, then we had a seven point lead and we had back-to-back turnovers in that segment,” he said. “Those are situations where we usually understand where the ball has to be, how to be able to make that play for a teammate and then be able to get to the free-throw line or the rim, and we didn’t do that so Keyshon [Spotwood] came up with a huge steala. It was a huge momentum play and he’s capable of that.”
The game came down to the final possessions. With 12 seconds to go Memorial’s Sean Pedulla was fouled and he made the first of two putting the Bulldogs up three points. Choctaw went down and missed all three shot attempts, a 3-pointer and two layups before the final buzzer.
Memorial’s JV Seat led all scores with 17 points, followed by Spotwood who had 15. With the win, the Bulldogs will battle the Midwest City Bombers tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. for the Championship.
“[Midwest City’s] a really good team — they shoot the ball really well,” Cowherd said. “Once again it’s about details, understanding what we need to do, who we are, how we operate and then taking away what they do best. We feel like we have a decent idea of that and what we need to do so we’re looking forward to the challenge.”