Stall ball leads to drama in small class districts
While there were plenty of blowouts in Class A-B districts across the state last weekend, not all lacked drama.
In fact, six district championships in the Lawton area were decided by seven points or less. Four of those teams were ranked and one, Big Pasture's 17th-ranked boys against Verden, were struck with a loss.
There's a number of reasons early surprises happen. The first is familiarity. Class A's No. 9 Fort Cobb girls head coach James Biddy, whose team survived a 31-25 win over Carnegie, summed it best.
"We're 10 miles apart," Biddy said of the two rival schools.
Let's face it, most of these teams aren't strangers. In the case where Sterling's boys played within 36-29 of 11th-ranked Fletcher, the teams had two previous meetings to study on.
Then there's pace of play. Four corners. With no shot-clock in high school, teams can stay within striking distance or nurse a small lead as long as they can hold the ball without turning it over.
Coaches often use kind, gentle catchphrases to indicate this happened. "Having to defend for long periods of time" or facing a "deliberate tempo" are dead ringers that an underdog stalled out the favorite for a good portion of the game.