OKLAHOMA CITY — Wright City flexed its top-ranked muscles, shot the lights out and prevented No. 2 Latta from repeating as the Class 2A State champ by defeating the Panthers 62-49 in Saturday’s late title game at the State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City.
The Panthers played well in defeat. They simply couldn’t keep up with the torrid shooting of the Lumberjax for 32 minutes.
Wright City, which won its last 21 straight games, finished the season at 30-2, while Latta hoisted the silver ball with a final record of 26-6. Latta entered the state tournament having won three of the past five 2A state championships before the Lumberjax foiled the Panthers’ attempt to obtain a fourth title in six seasons.
It was the first-ever state title for Wright City.
Latta head coach Matt Bryant, who was 11-0 in career state tournament games as both an assistant and the man in charge, fell to 11-1 but was impressed with the talented Wright City team.
“In all my time here at Latta, being a part of four teams that have been to the state tournament, that may be the best team we’ve played,” Bryant told The Ada News following the game. “They’re so very athletic. Every single guy they put on the floor can score.”
Wright City sank eight of its first 12 3-point tries in the game, including three in the final 3:28 of the second quarter that helped the Lumberjax turn a 21-21 tie into a 30-23 halftime lead. CJ Briley sank a 3-pointer to end the second period and give his team its seven-point halftime edge. But more on him later.
Wright City finished 10-of-19 (52.6 percent) from the field through two quarters and bettered that pace in the second half. The Lumberjax finished the game hitting 11 of their final 20 shots (55.0 percent) and shot 21-of-39 overall (53.8 percent).
“They shot it so well. I thought our defense was pretty good; they just made shots,” Bryant said.
Latta senior Trent Smith drained a 3-pointer early in the third period that cut the WC lead to 32-26. Brothers Robert Briley and CJ Briley then scored back-to-back baskets for Wright City to give their team its first double-digit lead at 38-26 with just under five minutes left in the third quarter.
Smith’s steal and lay-in at the 3:24 mark got Latta within 38-31. However, Justin Lecrone scored six straight points on a 3-pointer and a three-point play that started an 11-1 WC surge that pushed the lead to 49-32 early in the fourth period.
CJ Briley drove to the basket for a layup at the third-quarter buzzer, and Dalyn Burrell drained a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter to break the game open.
“The one thing I’m really proud of is we never gave up. We fought and fought and fought until the very end. We kept trying to make plays and kept trying to make plays,” Bryant said.
Latta went on an 8-0 run that included a 3-pointer and two (of three) free throws by Smith and a triple by Adam Jordan that got the Panthers within 53-44 with 2:21 to play. And another Jordan triple with 35.3 ticks left made it 58-49.
That’s as close as Wright City would let Latta get.
Jordan, Smith and Elijah Factor — who scored Latta’s first five points of the game but added just three the remainder of the contest — scored all of Latta’s 49 points except for a lone jumper by Hyatt Hoppe.
Jordan finished 7-of-11 from the field and sank 3-of-4 3-point shots for a game-high 20 points.
Smith, who took only three shots (and hit two triples) in the first half, added 19 points — including a 5-of-9 showing from long range. He also pulled down a team-high eight rebounds.
The Briley brothers combined for 32 points for Wright City and had their fans screaming after CJ, a junior, tossed a perfect pass to Robert, a senior, for a monstrous dunk at the 1:42 mark of the fourth quarter that put WC ahead 55-44. CJ finished a perfect 7-of-7 from the field and had 18 points, while Robert added 14 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Burrell added 15 points to the balanced WC attack.
Latta hit 52.9 percent (9-of-17) from the field in the first half but dipped to 8-of-19 (42.1 percent) over the final 16 minutes. Wright City out-rebounded Latta 27-14.
Still, after losing nine seniors from last year’s state title team, it was a nice run to the title game for the Panthers.
“I’m really happy for this team to be up here and be a part of these big games like this. They’ve watched other teams at Latta do it, and this season is all theirs. We’ve come a long way from where we started the year,” Bryant said.
“We had some growing pains here and there, people stepping into different roles and stuff. We kind of brought it all together at the right time,” he said.
Notes: Latta assistant Trent Storts is also 11-1 in state tournament games as a player and coach. ... Wright City head coach Joel Dickerson is a graduate of Ada High School and East Central University. ... Robert Briley was named the Class 2A State Tournament MVP by The Daily Oklahoman, while CJ Briley joined the Latta duo of Smith and Jordan on the all-tournament team.
CLASS 2A STATE
At State Fair Arena
Wright City 62, Latta 49
LATTA 13 10 9 17 — 49
W. CITY 13 17 16 16 — 62
LATTA: Adam Jordan 7-11, 3-7, 20; Trent Smith 6-11, 2-3, 19; Elijah Factor 3-8 1-1, 8; Hyatt Hoppe 1-3, 0-0, 2. Totals: 17-36, 6-11, 49.
WRIGHT CITY: CJ Briley 7-7, 1-2, 18; Dalyn Burrell 5-12, 2-3, 15; Robert Briley 4-7, 6-10, 14; Justin Lecrone 3-6, 0-0, 9; Chris Trusty 2-7 1-1, 6. Totals: 21-39, 10-16, 62.
Turnovers: Latta 9, Wright City 8.
Steals: Latta 3, Wright City 7 (R. Briley 3).
Assists: Latta 12 (Randis Gray 4); Wright City 10 (R. Briley 5).
Rebounds: Latta 18 (Smith 8); Wright City 27 (R. Briley 11).
3-point goals: Latta 9-19 (Smith 5-9, Jordan 3-4, Factor 1-3); Wright City 10-20 (Burrell 3-8, Lecrone 3-5, CJ Briley 3-3, Trusty 1-2).
Fouled out: Factor, Hyatt Hoppe (L).