ROFF — For the third time in seven seasons, a Roff basketball player has been named to the Oklahoma Coaches Association’s small school All-State team. But for the first time in more than two decades, a Tiger will actually suit up in the All-State game.
Dylan Lemley, a 6-6 forward who was the big man on the Roff team that beat Red Oak last month to wrap up the school’s first basketball state title since 1968, will be part of the Small East squad that will face the Small West at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa on July 29. Lemley joins Mitchell Trimmer and Dearth Parker — the leaders of Roff clubs in 2004 and 2006, respectively, that reached the Class A championship game — as Tigers named to the All-State basketball team, but Trimmer and Parker were also All-State in baseball and opted to play in the baseball game.
Roff’s last honoree to play in the All-State basketball game was Tommy Eaton, who graduated in 1988 as the school’s all-time leading scorer.
Current Bethel coach and former Roff head man Darrick Farriell — who took the 2006 Tigers to the Class A title game — will coach Lemley and his own star, guard Cale Jackson, on the Small East team.
Two of Lemley’s teammates on the senior-laden 2009-2010 Roff squad — guards Aaron Cornell and Dayne Parker — also received postseason honors. Cornell joined Lemley on the All-Class B squad named by the Oklahoma Basketball Coaches Association, and Parker and Lemley were named to the OBCA’s All-Region 6 team. Roff coach Kale Simon was named Region 6 co-Coach of the Year with Holdenville’s Troy Miller, whose Wolverines reached their school’s first state tournament in more than four decades.
In addition to Lemley and Parker, Stratford junior Dalen Qualls — Oklahoma’s leading scorer the past two seasons — was an All-Region selection, being named to the Region 5 squad.
Lemley led Roff in scoring as a junior, and he was second to Parker this season at 15.8 points per game. He also led the Tigers in rebounding (9.7 per game) and steals (62) while hitting 60 percent of his shots from inside the arc and 14-of-45 attempts from 3-point range. He capped his senior season by scoring in double figures in two of the Tigers’ three state tournament games, including a 16-point effort against Red Oak.
“To say the least, Dylan was solid for us for two years,” said Simon, who took over the Roff basketball program in the fall of 2007 and has taken three straight teams to the state tournament. “He was kind of the swing man in our offense, being that fourth guy you’ve got to have to be able to break a zone. For a 6-6 kid, he was versatile — he could shoot the ball outside or go inside, and he could pass the ball extremely well. The big thing was he got a lot of rebounds that we wouldn’t have gotten without him.
“Compared to other guys his size we faced this year, his versatility was pretty unmatched,” Simon noted. “We had a lot of games that were blowouts this year, and late in those games he didn’t have a lot of opportunity to score points.”
Cornell was “Mr. Intangible” for Roff as the starting point guard on three straight state tournament teams, and he led the Tigers in assists this season at 4.8 per game while averaging 5.2 points and almost two steals per contest.
“Ninety percent of his work was intangible work,” Simon said of Cornell. “He’s the guy who made the extra pass for a bucket, he’s the guy who rotates to take a charge (something Cornell did more than any other player in the area the last two seasons).
“He just took so much responsibility on his shoulders for me, and I held him extremely accountable,” he added. “Those kinds of things go unnoticed a lot of the time.”
Defense was Cornell’s specialty, and he was one of the leaders of Roff teams that played it was well as any in the state in any class the past three seasons.
“As much as any kid I’ve every had, Aaron’s defense was impressive away from the basketball,” Simon explained. “His ability to see things in advance was as good as any kid I’ve ever coached. It’s hard to coach that.
“He made me look smart a lot of times by taking a charge when it wasn’t his spot to rotate,” he said. “That’s what made him so special — he just did a lot of things out of the ordinary.”
Lemley, Parker and Brendan McCurry all averaged in double figures for Roff this season, and the team’s sixth man, junior Brendon Barr, also had a couple of outstanding games at the state tournament. Simon said having his stars accept his team-first philosophy was a key to the Tigers’ success the past three seasons.
“These two kids really bought in and believed in the team concept, and that’s always important,” he said. “People said we wouldn’t have enough basketballs to go around, but both of these kids took fewer shots as seniors than they did as juniors because we had so many options.”
Sulphur’s Rylee Rackley was the only area player to earn a spot on the Oklahoma Coaches Association Girls All-State teams. She was named to the Small West team. The SHS post player helded the Lady Bulldogs to a 23-4 record and led them to an appearance in the Class 3A Area Tournament.
The OCA girls basketball games will be played July 28 at 7 and 8:30 p.m. at the Mabee Center in Tulsa.