Lovelace's late bucket delivers crown
Crossings Christian coach Shawn Schenk drew up what he hoped was a winning play with 15.5 seconds left in a tie game.
Almost immediately, the Beggs defense busted the play call, but Crossings point guard Reid Lovelace never panicked.
Lovelace drove and spun into the lane, jumped and hit a soft floater with 1.9 seconds left that gave Crossings Christian a 51-49 win over Beggs in the Class 3A boys state championship game Saturday at State Fair Arena.
“Coach drew up a great play and it got busted,” Lovelace said. “My teammates trusted me. I spun, threw it up and it went in.
“A last-second shot at the state tournament, that’s something every kid dreams about, and that was just awesome.”
Equally awesome was the fact that Lovelace was the player hitting the game-winner to give top-ranked Crossings Christian (26-2) its first-ever boys basketball state championship. His grandmother founded the school in 2000 and still works with the school’s elementary-age children.
“It couldn’t happen to a better kid,” Schenk said. “He spends so much time in the gym. He’s the best teammate. It’s just surreal. What a neat thing for him to do that for his school and his teammates.”
Schenk wasn’t surprised by Beggs disrupting the initial play call, nor was he surprised by how his team reacted.
“We said that in the timeout — they may blow it up, and that’s fine,” Schenk said. “If they blow it up, go make a play. That’s what we do. It’s trust. It’s not me. I didn’t have to do anything. It’s not me drawing something up. It’s those guys. They spaced the floor. They did the right thing together. I’m really proud of them.”
Sixth-ranked Beggs concluded the season at 19-2. Senior guard Blake Gomez led the Demons with 15 points, while senior Kendal Daniels added 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Crossings senior guard Cooper Guddell had a game-high 16 for Crossings and Lovelace, a junior, had 15, each going 3-of-9 from 3-point range. Senior Brody Gibbs had nine points and seven rebounds.
“I trusted Reid,” Guddell said of the final play. “I know he’s a big playmaker, he was gonna go make a play, and he obviously did it.
“This feels unbelievable. I’ve dreamed about this since I was a kid and now that it’s finally happening, I can’t control my excitement. This is amazing.”
Crossings wore pregame warmups with “Unfinished Business” written on the front, representing the goal of winning a gold ball.
“We finished it, Schenk said with a smile. “We had a team that I felt like could win it last year, and those six seniors left a great legacy.
“That’s part of who we were playing for, was that team as well.”