By Nick Snow
BIXBY, Okla. —
The last five times the Stillwater High School boys basketball team faced Bixby it came down to one shot.
Thursday, the Pioneers avenged last year’s playoff loss to Bixby with a 58-56 win over the Spartans to open the Bixby Tournament.
“Any time you get a win against a quality team like Bixby, it’s huge,” Stillwater coach Michael Davis said. “They’re a smart, intelligent team that made state last year, so this was definitely a quality win.”
Rico Thompson scored the final layup as time expired, but Davis said it was the play of Caleb Watkins that made the difference.
“Caleb had three or four big plays down the stretch for us,” Davis said. “We need Caleb to be at his best in this tournament and he certainly showed he’s capable of playing at that level.”
Stillwater (3-0) trailed by seven with three minutes to go, before mounting a late comeback thanks to the likes of players like Watkins and Bradyn Murrell.
“Murrell would not let us lose this game,” Davis said. “He just gave a great effort. I’m proud of all our guys. We play eight guys in our rotation and every one of them had a hand in tonight’s game.”
With the win, Stillwater will face Class 5A No. 1 Tulsa Edison in the semifinals of the tournament at 8:30 p.m. Friday.
“We just have to go play,” Davis said. “Anything can happen when they throw that ball up. We just have to go play our game and hopefully it will all work out.”