CHOCTAW Doug Schumpert's teams have made a living at the state tournament by playing pressure defense and forcing teams to turn the basketball over time after time, however, after 30-plus years of winning those battles, his Anadarko boys met their match Thursday afternoon as Tulsa McLain forged a wild 40-38 victory over the Warriors at Choctaw High School in the first round of the Class 4A State Tournament.
The upset win Anadarko was the No. 4-seed and an Area champion while McLain was unseeded and came in through the loser's bracket sends the Titans into the semifinals against the winner of last night's Roland/Tulsa Webster today at 1:30 p.m. in the State Fairgrounds Arena. Anadarko ends the season with a 23-4 record, not what the team, nor Schumpert had wanted.
The downfall of the Warriors was simple to pinpoint they couldn't handle the Titans' pressure defense, coughing up possession 19 times and looking lost at times on offense.
"The reason we lost is we couldn't take care of the ball," Schumpert said. "The last couple of minutes we just gave it up too many times and they took advantage and made shots. We knew they were very athletic, that was no surprise to our players.
"We worked on it over and over and I thought we'd respond but we didn't. We had guys act like they'd never seen this pressure before but we've played teams all season that pressure the ball: MacArthur, Carl Albert, El Reno, the Storm. . . We just didn't handle the pressure and it cost us the game."
However, even despite the problems Anadarko had several chances to win the game in the final seconds after building a six-point lead with four minutes to go. But all but a point of that lead vanished in just 33 seconds when McLain got a layup from Bishop Louie and a trey from Keonde Jones. After the Titans turned it back over on an offensive foul, the Warriors finally worked the ball inside to A'Ram Johnson who laid in a bucket to arrange a 38-35 cushion with 1:50 to go.
The Titans missed at the other end but the Warriors were unable to grab the rebound and little Bryant Hunt got open in the right corner for a trey that knotted the score with 28 seconds remaining.
Then came the killer, as the Warriors were trying to inbound the ball and move upcourt with the game tied, they turned it over again with 16 seconds left and the Titans made them pay as Jones drove the left elbow, and lofted a one-handed floater that sliced cleanly through the nets.
Schumpert got a timeout with 10 seconds to go, giving him just enough time to plan another bid to pull out the win. The Warriors worked the ball upcourt, leaving Mykail Shaw at the far end to back-track and eventually take the pass, hopefully just outside the 3-point arc.