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A Wheat Capital slam dunk

January 13, 2021 - 00:00
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Stone is MVP, KHS is untested while claiming 7th title in 8 years

  • A Wheat Capital slam dunk
    KHS SENIOR Matthew Stone goes up for a dunk against the OKC Knights during Saturday’s title game. Stone scored 25 points and was named the tournament MVP. [Photo by Russell Stitt/]

It wasn’t a question of “if” Kingfisher would win another Wheat Capital Tournament championship.

The only questions were “who?” and “by how much?”

The answers: The OKC Knights and a lot.

Class 4A’s top-ranked Jackets continued their dominance Saturday against an overwhelmed field in the 52nd annual tournament at Chisholm by disposing of the home school Knights 97-49.

It was Kingfisher’s second straight Wheat Capital championship and seventh in eight years. The lone blip in that streak was 2019 when Kingfisher didn’t participate in order to play in the Tournament of Champions.

The Jackets won their three tournament games by an average of 57 points. Their 83-43 victory against Tecumseh in the semifinals was their narrowest margin.

In that game, the Jackets quickly led 14-2 and saw it grow to 35-5 early in the second quarter.

Although they made six 3-pointers, the Jackets scored 62 points in the paint.

A big chunk of those came from Matthew Stone, who scored 27 points and had nine rebounds and five assists.

Bijan Cortes added 21 points and five assists while Jarret Birdwell scored 18 points and Maverick Ridenour 13.

The dominance carried over for pretty much the entire roster on Saturday... due in part to it being so limited.

The Jackets dressed out just eight players Friday and Saturday due to the JV playing at the same time at the Ward Center Classic in Seiling.

That left head coach Jared Reese with a very finite amount of options, even as games got out of hand.

“We just tried to keep guys rested as much as possible, but we didn’t have a lot of guys to rotate in,” Reese said. “And you can’t tell your guys to go out there and not play.”

The Knights were within 8-5 at one point in the first quarter, but trailed by 14 points by its end.

The Jackets went on a 19-3 run to begin the second quarter to quell what was already a non-existent hope of a comeback from the Knights.

Stone was again dominant as he scored 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and was named the tournament’s most valuable player.

“It’s pretty cool because we’ve been able to have five different guys win it over the years,” said Reese, who has now either played or coached in 10 Wheat Capital Tournament championships.

Jace Sternberger won MVPs in 2014 and 2015 and Jett Sternberger claimed them the next two years. Trey Green got the honor in 2018 and Cortes captured last award.

“It’s just fun to see different guys be rewarded for the work they put in,” Reese said.

Ridenour continued his hot hand as he was 6 of 8 from 3-point range and scored 20 points.

He joined Stone and Cortes on the all-tournament team.

Cortes just missed a triple-double as he scored 19 points, pulled down 11 rebounds and had eight assists.

Birdwell scored 12 points.

The Jackets shot 64.5 percent for the game, which turned out to be their average for the tournament.

In the finals, Kingfisher was 32 of 45 from inside the arc and 8 of 17.

For the tournament, the Jackets were 90 of 125 (72 percent) from 2-point range, 30 of 61 (49.2 percent) from 3-point range and 120 of 186 (64.5 percent) overall.

The trio of opponents shot just 33.6 percent (44 of 131).