By Scott Hansen
Another outstanding year of competition is in the books in the Sooner State, and what a year it was. From Bishop McGuinness winning a total of eight state championships to a basketball scoring battle for the ages, the 2007-08 school year was memorable for a lot of reasons.
Here are the top 10 moments of the 2007-08 school year in Oklahoma:
10. Oklahoma OK For Hoops
A year removed from former Oklahoma Christian star Blake Griffin and his McDonald’s All-American campaign, it was the junior class that took center stage. Led by Putnam City southpaw guard Xavier Henry and Bishop McGuinness' shot-blocking sensation Daniel Orton, Oklahoma proved its worth on the hardwood.
Along with Henry and Orton is Kyle Hardrick, ranked as one of the top forwards in the country. Hardrick will join forces with Henry at Putnam City making the Pirates one of the top teams nationally heading into next season.
Would-be Norman guard Terrence Boyd will be among the top talents nationally this season, depending on where and if he plays. Boyd was ruled ineligible by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association after attempting to transfer back to Norman from Oak Hill Academy (Va.).
Watch this space in the future.
9. Sapulpa’s Brewer Signs With Tennessee
Sapulpa center Alyssia Brewer was one of the top prospects in girls basketball nationally. It’s no wonder why superpower Tennessee was sniffing around the Sooner State for her talents. Brewer signed with Tennessee after averaging 22.3 points and 14.5 rebounds for the Lady Chieftains.
Brewer was a McDonald’s All-American, a second team MaxPreps All-American and was named as Oklahoma player of the year by both major newspapers in the state. More recently, Brewer was named to the United States National U18 Team to participate in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
8. Eight is Great for Bishop McGuinness
Bishop McGuinness, a private Catholic high school in Oklahoma City, dominated on all fronts during the 2007-08 school year. The Fighting Irish won eight state titles in various sports throughout the year.
The hardware included titles in football, girls cross country, boys basketball, baseball, girls tennis, boys golf, girls soccer, and girls track.
MaxPreps.com ranked McGuinness as second top sports program nationally in the 2007-08 school year due to its title-wave.
7. Tulsa Memorial Beats Putnam City at State
For the second-straight season, Putnam City’s basketball season ended quicker than expected. Tulsa Memorial shocked the Pirates in the first round of the Class 6A state tournament in Oklahoma City, handing Henry and his team its first loss to Oklahoma competition of the season.
It might have been a game that set basketball back 50 years as Memorial won 40-38 and Henry might have been slowed by a wrist injury on his shooting hand, but Memorial’s victory was impressive nonetheless. The upset sparked the team to the Class 6A state championship with a victory over Putnam City North in the final.
The Chargers held Putnam City to just two second half field goals and suffocated Henry defensively, holding one of the nation's top players to nine points.
Memorial will still be strong in 2008-09 with 6-9 junior-to-be Cameron Downing leading the way.
6. Guthrie’s Scoring Explosion
The 2007 football season was magical for Guthrie, as the Bluejays embarked on one of the most dominant runs in Oklahoma history en route to the Class 5A state title in football.
Oklahoma State signee Kyle Staley was dazzling wherever he played, putting up unreal numbers for the Bluejays. In a 14-0 run of dominance, Guthrie outscored its opponents 764-89. The 764 points were a state record in Oklahoma, an average of 54.6 points per game.
Guthrie’s 14-game winning streak will be put on the line straight from the word go in 2008, as it hosts Bishop McGuinness at ‘The Rock’ to open the season. McGuinness owns a 28-game winning streak coming off back-to-back titles in 4A.
5. Sequoyah-Tahlequah Girls Fall Short
Kansas signee Angel Goodrich was handed the keys to the Sequoyah-Tahlequah girls basketball program from day one of her career. Goodrich led the Lady Indians to three-straight state titles as they entered the season as one of the top teams in the country.
The distinction of being the first team in girls’ basketball history in Oklahoma to win four straight state championships was on the line for Sequoyah. In the Class 3A state championship game at ‘The Big House’ in Oklahoma City, Millwood had other ideas.
Millwood shocked the Lady Indians 63-60 to end Sequoyah’s run. Goodrich still is regarded as one of the best players in state history and the loss should not damper Sequoyah’s dominant run.
4. Owasso One of Nation’s Best in Baseball
Owasso was ranked No. 1 in the MaxPreps national baseball rankings for a time during the season and rolled to the Class 6A state baseball crown in May with a victory over Moore.
Owasso finished fifth in the national poll at the end of the season after winning its second-straight Oklahoma state title on the diamond. Owasso finished with a 36-3 record.
Six-foot-eight hurler Brian Flynn was named a second team MaxPreps All-American last week after compiling a 9-1 record on the mound with an outstanding 0.79 ERA. Flynn was drafted by the Boston Red Sox with the 562nd pick in the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft.
3. Chelsea’s Kolb Sets National Record
Chelsea pitcher Kasha Kolb redefined the term unhittable. Kolb notched 40 shutouts during his senior campaign to set a national record.
Not only did Kolb set her name in stone with a national record, Kolb set a state record with 1,660 career strikeouts. Kolb rocketed 19 no-hit efforts in her 42-0 campaign and finished with a 0.00 ERA.
Kolb’s next stop will be at Wichita State to play softball. Schools in the Missouri Valley Conference should take note.
2. Backyard Bowl: Union Clips Jenks
It was so good that you could have made a movie out of it. Actually, the debut of the Greatest High School Football Rivalries series on Versus network already took care of that, capturing every moment of his overtime thriller in an NFL Films-style documentary.
The 2007 version of the MidFirst Bank Backyard Bowl at Skelly Stadium in Tulsa was as breathtaking as it gets.
“Just when I don’t think it can get any better, it always does,” Jenks head coach Allen Trimble said.
These neighborhood rivals played their hearts out, with Tulsa Union winning 43-42 in overtime over Jenks. Union blocked an extra-point attempt in overtime and then followed with a touchdown by sensational running back and Oklahoma State commit Jeremy Smith. Oklahoma signee Tress Way booted through the point after to send Union fans into celebratory mode.
Jenks would get the last laugh by defeating Union to win the Class 6A state title for the ninth time in 12 years at the same venue, 42-24. But on Sept. 7, it was one of the best moments viewed by this onlooker. Hard to believe that we actually get paid for this stuff.
1. Clarke, Page Scoring Battle
Something had to give. Despite all the heroics by marvelous student-athletes across the state, the scoring battle between Verdigris guard Rotnei Clarke and Pawnee’s Keiton Page was the top story for the 2007-08 school year in Oklahoma.
In the area tournament in February, Clarke sank a charity toss against Adair to become Oklahoma’s all-time leading scorer. Page averaged 44.4 points per game for Pawnee, finishing second in the race to Clarke.
Clarke finished with 3,758 points while leading Verdigris to the Class 3A state title, averaging 40.9 points per game. Page would lead Pawnee to its second title in his career by scoring 54 and dishing out 13 assists in the final in 2A and finished with 3,709 points.
Now, on to 2008-09.