Stillwater News Press

Sports

January 31, 2014

Stillwater sweeps Bishop McGuinness on homecoming

STILLWATER, Okla. — Stillwater had a chance to right a wrong Friday night.

The Pioneers fell to Class 5A No. 1 Bishop McGuinness in an earlier meeting this year but took full advantage of the second meeting on Homecoming night. No. 15 Stillwater hit free throws down the stretch that gave the Pioneers a 43-36 win at home.

“You have to be able to make free throws,” Stillwater coach Michael Davis said. “I’m very proud of those young men.”

Senior guard Garrett Christian missed his first five field goals against Bishop McGuinness. But faith was not lost.

“I told him, ‘I believe in you,’” Davis said.

Christian kept shooting and ended the game with a game-high 16 points, including three 3-pointers and four free throws in the final minute of the game.

“Everyone around me was telling me to keep shooting,” Christian said. “I did and they started falling in the second half.”

Davis knew that Christian’s time to emerge was coming. Christian was ready when the bell rang.

“I knew his day would come. The day came. He hit big shots for us,” Davis said about Christian. “Carson played really good defense and rebounded. He did other things than score.”

The Pioneers and the Fighting Irish traded blows in the first three quarters. Stillwater led 29-24 going into the final quarter.

Stillwater did not give up the lead in the final eight minutes.

With a 39-36 Pioneer advantage, Christian was called to the line for two free throws with 11.8 seconds to go. The crowd went silent as the senior swished both attempts to give the Pioneers a 41-36 lead. Christian went back to the line with 3.3 seconds and knocked down both attempts.

“I shoot them every day. I practice them all of the time and I know they are a big part of the game and luckily they all went in,” Christian said.

Brandon Prather chipped in nine points in the win. Carson Teel was allowed just one shot and put in two points.

“We knew that they were going to ride Carson pretty hard and that would open up shots for the rest of us,” Christian said.

Bishop McGuinness’ center Will Lienhard scored just two buckets on 12 shot attempts. Jordan Brown and Jared Dickey guarded Lienhard.

“Jordan and Jared deserve a lot of credit for battling that big guy. I was very proud of them. They made it tough for him,” Davis said.

Stillwater’s offense is accustomed to a fast pace. The Pioneers slowed the game down and dribbled out much of the clock in the low-scoring bout.

“Sometimes you have to win games ugly and you have to win close games to get to where you’re supposed to be. It was a test of character,” Davis said. “I had to stay with what they were giving us.”

The Homecoming crowd was as rowdy as Christian has ever heard.

“It was the best all year. It really helped us. I don’t think they realize how much they help us when we’re on the court. The atmosphere was insane. I really enjoyed it and I think my teammates did too,” Christian said.

Stillwater has had a big week after beating Class 6A No. 6 Edmond Santa Fe on Tuesday and a victory over Class 5A No. 1 Bishop McGuinness on Friday.

“Our philosphy is the next game up. It never changes. We don’t worry about two or three games down the road, we worry about the next game up,” Davis said.

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