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McLoud boys win first district title in 17 years

Brian Johnson
Shawnee News-Star, USA TODAY NETWORK
McLoud's Collin Gibson (1) and Dickson's Josh Palesano (0) hit the floor for a loose ball Monday night during Class 4A district play.

McLOUD – The McLoud Redskins were bound and determined to end a long dry spell.

But it took overtime to do it Monday night.

Playing in its first game since Jan. 26, McLoud made big plays in the second half and overtime while overcoming poor free-throw shooting in outlasting the Dickson Comets for a Class 4A district championship, 61-58.

“I'm proud of our guys. It's the first time we won a district title in 17 years. It's a huge deal,” said McLoud head coach Tim Boyer. “It was a long drought and we had to earn it.”

The Redskins, who improved to 9-4, had not played since late January due to COVID-19 and winter weather issues.

“It was a long layoff. The kids were tired of practicing against each other,” Boyer said.

The trio of Tristan Crook, Collin Gibson and Luke Norwood reached double figures to spark McLoud to the win. Crook finished with 17 points, Gibson tallied 13 and Norwood contributed 12.

Gibson, who was scoreless at halftime, knocked down 5 of 5 shots in the third quarter, got a big steal and layup in overtime. Norwood scored off a putback in the extra session and Crook had a drive to the hoop for a basket and later nailed a free throw.

“Collin tore his MCL in his last football game. He has played all season long on a torn MCL,” said Boyer. “He has played with pain and has battled through it.”

The Redskins survived overtime, connecting on only 2 of 9 charity tosses. McLoud was only 20 of 40 from the foul line but Dickson was even a worse 9 of 22.

The Comets did shoot 50% from the floor while the Redskins hit at only a 37.8% pace. McLoud converted just one 3-point field goal (by Crook) on the night while Dickson connected on five.

Charvis Wright fired in a game-high 24 points for the Comets as he drained four of his team's five treys. Wright was 8 of 16 from the floor and 4 of 4 from the line. He ended up with a double-double as he collected 13 rebounds.

Johnny Smith followed with 15 points and Josh Palesano tacked on 10 in a losing effort.

McLoud was down 18-10 after one quarter and trailed 32-24 at halftime, but came out blazing in the third quarter, hitting 9 of 14 shots from the field and pulling within 43-42, heading into the fourth. The Redskins did take a short-lived 42-41 edge after Gibson scored off a Norwood assist. But Smith hit a shot with two seconds left to put the Comets back on top.

It was a nip-and-tuck affair in the fourth. McLoud had the largest advantage of four (49-45). The score was tied four times in the fourth and was deadlocked at 53 at the end of regulation.

The Redskins had a chance for the win at the buzzer, but Jacob Jordan's shot was off the mark.

In overtime, Gibson's steal and layup led to a 56-54 lead with 2:28 to go. Wright tied it up with two free throws with 1:58 remaining. Norwood then scored off a putback with 1:41 left to put McLoud on top for good

With 44 seconds left, Crook scored off a drive to the hoop, pushing the McLoud lead to four at 60-56.

But the issue was decided until game's end. The Redskins hit just 1 of 6 free throws in the final 25 seconds. Dickson didn't help after missing two free shots with 36 seconds remaining.'

Wright fired up a near half-court desperation shot at the buzzer, but it was no good.

McLoud will advance to regionals against host and top-ranked Kingfisher Thursday at 8 p.m.