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Oklahoma 6A boys semifinals: Owasso turns the tables on Broken Arrow with 53-43 win

Edmond North dominates crosstown rival for chance to claim third straight championship

NORMAN, OKLAHOMA - In a rematch of last season’s epic semifinal, Owasso and Broken Arrow squared off Friday morning with an opportunity to earn a chance to play for a title. 

In 2023, the Tigers came away the winners in dramatic fashion. But this time, the Rams made sure to take away the drama this go-around.

Led by Jax Kerr, Owasso controlled the Tigers for four quarters in all facets of the game on their way to a 53-43 victory at the Lloyd Noble Center.

“I wasn't here last year, but it was definitely big on the team's mind the whole year,” Kerr said. “We were like, we've got to get our get back.

"I wasn't there last year in the locker room, but I still felt that because the other people that were on the team carried it on and they were like, this is for them. That's what we had to do.”

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Kerr, who transferred from Hilldale in the offseason, was a monster in the paint for the Rams as the 6-foot-11 junior scored 21 points and hauled in 12 rebounds. In his first taste of the Owasso-Broken Arrow rivalry, he proved to be an un-guardable matchup for the Tigers throughout the morning.

“My mindset was, we've got two more games left and I wasn't going to let this game be the last game for our seniors,” Kerr said. “So we had to go fight for it and we're playing for it all (Saturday).”

Jalen Montonati added 12 points and was used more as a decoy as the Tigers focused their defensive efforts on him.

“The thing, too, is Jalen gets so much attention and people try to do everything to take him away,” Owasso coach Brian Montonati said. “And I don't know if you've seen how many times we ran him off of pin downs and Jax comes open and our guards are finding it. So, that speaks volumes of just our team being in tune with each other and playing with high chemistry right now.”

The Tigers were paced by David Howell, who tallied 16 points and nine rebounds. No other players reached double digits.

Unlike last season when the two rivals squared off three times before meeting up in the semifinals, this was their first and only encounter of the year due to the move to a district schedule.

According to coach Montonati, that added to the intensity of the encounter.

“We've got a rivalry with Broken Arrow. Last year, they bounced us in the state tournament. We wanted (Tulsa) Union, but BA got them first," Montonati said, referring to the Tigers' quarterfinal win against the Redhawks on Wednesday. “So we turned our attention to BA.

"We know they're well coached, we're not surprised that they beat Union and we had to turn our attention to them. They run a lot of stuff. We're very familiar with them, but we just felt like it was going to be a grinder of a game and it was going to be ugly, and we were going to have to figure out a way to win.”

Oklahoma 6A boys quarterfinals: Owasso takes care of business against Norman High, 60-48

The Rams will now set their sights on facing two-time defending champion Edmond North in the 6A championship game Saturday. The Owasso boys have never won a title in basketball.

For Kerr, being in this position is why he transferred from Hilldale to Owasso in the offseason.

"It's a night and day difference. No hate to my last school or anything, but it's a night and day difference,” Berg said. “Coach Montonati, how he runs his thing and everything.

"It's night and day difference from where I was from and it's what I wanted. I wanted to put myself on the biggest stage that Oklahoma basketball has to offer, and that's what I'm doing this week.”

Edmond North 56, Edmond Memorial 34

North took all the drama out of the contest in the second quarter. After trailing 11-10 to close out the first quarter, they outscored Memorial 14-4 in the quarter as they continued to play bully ball against their intra-city rival and never let up.

The Bulldogs ended the day shooting 32 percent from the field compared to 55 percent for the Huskies.

On his birthday, Dylan Warlick scored 16 points and pulled down six boards. Chiante Tramble added 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting.

The Huskies will now prepare to make a run at a third straight championship with only the Rams standing in their way. When the two teams faced off at the Tournament of Champions in December, North won 58-46.

But now the stakes are a little higher. That seems to be how Warlick likes it.

“It's fun. That's all I got to say about it,” Warlick said. “It's been a year of me waiting, honestly for this third straight championship and it's going to be a lot of fun competing.

"Owasso, they're a really good team. We played them before. That's all I have to say. It's going to be a lot of fun.”

-- Michael Kinney | @SBLiveOK