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Team approach lifts Tulsa Edison past Tahlequah in Catoosa Port City Classic semifinals; Victory Christian comes alive in second half to reach final

Tulsa Edison and Victory Christian will meet in the championship game Saturday.

By Buck Ringgold | Photos by Karen Schwartz

CATOOSA — In a revenge game for Tulsa Edison, the Eagles also wanted to embrace the concept of team basketball.

The Eagles were able to get contributions from several players as they used a big second quarter to build a sizable lead. Edison then held off a fourth-quarter charge from Tahlequah to post a 61-51 win Friday in the semifinals of the Port City Classic at Catoosa High School.

"Anybody who came onto the floor contributed and helped us with the win," said Edison junior Jayvyn Overton-Tobie, who led all scorers with 16 points. "It was a good team win."

Edison's coach, Michael Parish, was also happy with the way his Eagles (11-6) played with a sense of togetherness.

"I thought we played together as a team; we shared the basketball and we worked to get each other open," Parish said. "At times, we tend to get a little selfish and (Friday), it goes to show that when you share the ball and play as a group, you can have big wins.

"Tahlequah's a good team; they beat us last year in the area championship game. I reminded the kids about that and we talked about just wanting to play with a chip on our shoulder with a 'get them back' mentality."

Up 14-10 after one quarter, the Eagles outscored the Tigers (9-5) in the second, 16-8, to forge a 30-18 halftime advantage.

Of the six field goals Edison made in the second quarter, four were 3-pointers, two from Luke Parish and the other two from Cooper Falling, who had four 3's on the night.

"We had a lot of help from the bench; Cooper Falling really came in and opened the game up for us with a bunch of 3's," Luke Parish said. "Bryce (Spencer) played really well, Jeremiah (Johnson) helped us out always getting rebounds.

"It doesn't always have to be one guy. If we play together as a team, we can take down anybody."

Tahlequah got within seven points in the third quarter before Edison gradually pushed its lead back into double digits.

The Tigers made another big push in the closing minutes, getting to within six points on four separate occasions, the latter 57-51 with 52 seconds remaining.

But Edison, playing in the double-bonus, was able to nail down the win at the foul line. Ryan Hawkins and Overton-Tobie each had two free throws in the final 27 seconds for the final 10-point margin.

Hawkins also hit two free throws with 1:29 left for a 57-49 lead, seconds after Johnson grabbed a rebound off a missed Tahlequah shot attempt.

"I thought Ryan Hawkins and Bryce Spencer did a good job controlling the ball for us and then Jay Overton, he hit a couple of big finishes down the stretch," Michael Parish said.

"Credit to our kids to sit down and guard them, lock it up and when they made their run, we were able to fight through some adversity and make some free throws coming home down the stretch."

Ten of Overton-Tobie's 16 points came in the final quarter. Falling had 14 points while making four 3's, and Luke Parish had three 3's as part of his 11-point outing.

"We kind of gave it away a little bit there in the third quarter but got a little bit of momentum back, and we picked it up in the fourth quarter; we started off strong and finished so well," Overton-Tobie said.

The Eagles now will play for the Port City Classic championship Saturday at 8:30 p.m. They will play Victory Christian, which beat Sand Springs in Friday's other semifinal.

Hayden Smith scored 14 points and Tyler Joice added 11 for the Tigers, who drop into Saturday's third-place game against Sand Springs.

Victory Christian 54, Sand Springs 37

Up by only five points at halftime, the Conquerors - ranked No. 2 in 4A in the latest statewide rankings - turned it on in the second half.

They outscored the Sandites in the third quarter, 18-10, for a 40-27 lead and were up by 18 points midway through the fourth.

"We weren't doing enough of the little things right in the first half," Victory coach Ryan Wakley said. "We had some turnovers that really hurt us, we left some shooters open that we shouldn't have left open and we need to clean that up a little bit and execute a little bit better offensively, and we finally did that in the second half and were able to pull away."

The Conquerors (12-3) also got a boost from 6-foot-4 senior standout Joshua Udoumoh, who had 13 of his game-high 17 points after halftime.

"He got some transition buckets and Jude Malhi hit a couple of 3's for us, which were big on the momentum side," Wakley. "Luke Patton (a 6-6 senior) did a great job inside manning the boards and had a really good game there.

"I think it was a good team effort; we just kind of locked in a little bit better in the second half and were able to slowly pull away."

Patton was also in double figures for the Conquerors as he ended up with 11 points.

"We're just trying to get better every day," Wakley said. "We tried to make sure we had some good competition to go up against all year long.

"We haven't won them all, but it's been good for us and it pointed some things out where we needed to improve and grow as a team, and we're looking to get better every day we step onto the court, whether it's practice or a game, because the ultimate goal is to be ready when the playoffs get here and make a good run there."

Jason Clark, a senior, had 10 points and made two 3's to lead Sand Springs (4-8) in scoring.