CLAREMORE, OK —
On Saturday, Feb. 23, Chouteau was slated to face Class 2A No. 1 Oklahoma City Northeast in the in a Class 2A regional championship game. Although the unranked Wildcats walked away from that game with a loss, the team wanted nothing more than to get another shot at No. 1.
Not only did Chouteau get that shot, they took their revenge to a whole new level — Big House level — as the Wildcats shocked the state, eliminating the top team with a 62-38 beatdown Saturday at Claremore High School and earning a spot in the state tournament next week at the Big House — the State Fairgrounds Arena in Oklahoma City.
“When we got beat last Saturday night, I’ve never seen a group of kids who were so furious, because they knew they could beat them [Northeast],” said joyful Wildcat head coach Travis Wheeler. “When Ketchum beat them last night, our kids were happy. They wanted to play Northeast again”.
And play them they did. Playing in front of a rocking student section and a section full of Chouteau faithful, the Wildcats got off to a slow start, falling behind late in the first quarter, 14-9. However Chouteau, as they’ve done all year, battled back and kept and was only down one at the half, 22-21.
By the time the third quarter came around, the momentum clearly had shifted to the Wildcats, when sophomore Arlis Alsip knocked down a three to start the third, putting the Cats up 24-22. Chouteau never looked back and led the rest of the game. Chouteau hit their free throws late, while Northeast went ice cold, as Chouteau punched its ticket to Oklahoma City.
The guard play of Chouteau was as its best, and took over when needed.
“I don’t care what anybody says, Jason Couch is one of the best guards in small school basketball in this state,” said Wheeler. “Jordon Shive, Arlis, the other guys, none of them get enough credit.”
Perhaps the most couching moment of the game came during the trophy presentation, when Northeast’s Tyus Johnson asked if he could present Chouteau with their trophy. When he did, both sets of fans gave a thunderous applause.
Chouteau got to the game with Northeast by beating Yale Friday night, 55-39. Senior Jordon Shive led Chouteau with 15 points.
The Wildcats led after the first quarter, 9-8, when Isaac Carter hit a layup just seconds before the buzzer. Carter would go on to finish the game a perfect 6-of-6 from the field. However, Yale opened the second quarter on a 10-0 run, taking an 18-9 lead midway through.
Chouteau answered the call, closing out the first half with a 13-0 run. The Wildcats never looked back and went 12-for-16 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter to secure the win.
Yale Scorers — Folwer 18, Winterbottom 13, Eberhart 4, Wade 4.
Chouteau Scorers — Shive 15, Alsip 12, Brannon 12, Carter 9, Couch 9.
OKC Northeast Scorers — Watson 10, Bailey 8, Johnson 8, Piná 7, Edwards 3, Overton 2.
Chouteau Scorers— Couch 18, Alsip 12, Carter 12, Shive 11, Brannon 7, Bendure 2.