Posted On: 03/8/21 11:32 PM
Last year, we missed out on the State Tournament due to COVID-19, but that time of the year has finally circled back around and has arrived once again. While 4A’s heavy favorites remain the same from two seasons ago, there are a few other teams that could creep up and wreak havoc.
To mention 4A’s clear-cut favorites:
Kingfisher is the last team to win the 4A State Championship, and it was a dominant win over 4A’s other powerhouse program, Heritage Hall. At the time, Bijan Cortes Bijan Cortes 6'2" | PG Kingfisher | 2021 State #195 Nation OK and Matthew Stone Matthew Stone 6'4" | SF Kingfisher | 2021 State OK were sophomores, who were clearly talented and played a vital role in Kingfisher’s victory, but they weren’t who they are now. Granted, Kingfisher had other seniors carrying the load, but they aren’t as dominant as Cortes and Stone are now while they were dominant. Kingfisher is the clear favorite to repeat as 4A State Champs.
For the most part, Heritage Hall has been dominant against their 4A competition since losing the State Championship in 2019. The only thing that’s left for them to accomplish is winning the State Title once again, which hasn’t happened since senior Trey Alexander Trey Alexander 6'4" | SG Oklahoma City Heritage | 2021 State #55 Nation OK was a freshman. Alexander and Kingfisher’s Cortes have been compared since that State Championship game in 2019, and now, Alexander may have the upper-hand one-on-one. However, that’s not what matters. Heritage Hall’s supporting cast will have to step up and continue to compliment what Alexander does on the offensive end while continuing their superb defense that we’ve seen throughout the playoffs.
The three teams that may sneak up on Heritage Hall and Kingfisher are Daniel Webster, Mount St. Mary, and Classen SAS @ NE.
Webster is one of the biggest unknowns because they don’t play many teams from the Oklahoma City area. People who have watched them play boast that they’re the real deal, and they’ve backed that up with a 15-6 record with big wins against 5A’s No. 2 Tulsa Memorial, 5A’s No. 6 Sapulpa, and 6A’s No. 8 Tulsa Union. Webster did lose to Classen SAS in the Area tournament championship, though. Still, Webster’s body of work through the regular season can’t go unnoticed, and they’re a legit contender in the State Tournament.
Mount St. Mary:
Mount seemingly came out of nowhere this season. While one may say they haven’t played a tough schedule, you could still make the argument that they’ve exceeded expectations with a very young team. Mount is peaking at the right time, and they’re winning games on the backs of their defense, not their scoring, and not necessarily because of an elite scorer, although Diante Palmer Diante Palmer 6'0" | PG Mount St. Mary | 2023 State OK , Luke Harstad, and C.J. Johnson are all capable of lighting it up.
Mount lost to Heritage Hall by 16 points in the Area Championship game, but it wasn’t that wide of a gap. They kept the game within 10 points until trash time.
Classen’s first game of State is against Mount St. Mary, a team that closely resembles them. As an OKCPS school, Classen also flies under the radar a bit, but the noise they’ve made this season makes them an undeniable threat.
Classen’s best quality is their chemistry. Between Anthony Turner Anthony Turner 6'2" | PG Classen SAS | 2021 State OK , Camari Smiley Camari Smiley 6'3" | SF Classen SAS | 2021 State OK , and Tony Palma Tony Palma 6'0" | PG Classen SAS | 2022 State OK , the Comets are a well-oiled machine, coached excellently by Kendall Cudjoe. They’re definitely the most intense team in 4A’s State Tournament and have the ability to stress opponents out with their stifling defense.
While these three teams are expected to be a threat to 4A’s favorites, there are three other teams in this tournament that have the potential to upset their way to the State Championship game.
Here are Tuesday and Wednesday’s first-round matchups.
#1 Kingfisher vs. #13 Blanchard.
#5 Mount St. Mary vs. #7 Classen SAS.
#3 Daniel Webster vs. #4 Victory Christian.
#2 Heritage Hall vs. #8 Holland Hall.
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