Carl Albert’s title win ‘indescribable’
TULSA — Antonio Watson started tearing up as soon as he picked up the trophy.
The senior at Carl Albert was one of the Titans leading scorers coming into the state tournament. He could score down low or from behind the 3-point line, even making seven 3s in a game earlier this season.
So when Carl Albert coach Jay Price told Watson to go grab the trophy and hand it to his teammates, emotions overcame him and others beginning to partake in a joyous celebration.
The top-ranked Titans toppled No. 3 Lawton MacArthur 72-49 on Saturday at Oral Roberts’ Mabee Center to win the Class 5A state championship.
Watson broke his foot the Monday the playoffs began, ending his season. Although he wasn’t on the court helping Carl Albert to its third state championship in program history, he was the first one to grab the gold ball and present it to his teammates.
“It was indescribable,” senior James Locke said of Watson handing out the trophy. “Antonio’s like my brother. Seeing him be able to do that and add to this amazing moment is just special.”
Locke scored 19 points, including 12 in the first quarter. He hit a trifecta of 3-pointers, giving Carl Albert (22-4 overall) a double-digit lead it wouldn’t lose.
Fellow senior Maurice Cudjo, who admittedly had a poor first half, was dominant down the stretch. As MacArthur (23-3) attempted to make its run, Cudjo took over. He scored 13 points in the final quarter and slammed the door on any comeback opportunity.
“My teammates and coaches just picked me up,” Cudjo said. “There were a lot of nerves going on, so they had to call me down at halftime so I could play my game.”
MacArthur star Danquez Dawsey led the Highlanders with 16 points. Arzhonte Dallas added 12 while Brandon Cowan poured in 11, but the Titans defense was able to swarm from the opening tip. MacArthur made only four shots in the first half and only two of its 17 3-point attempts.
Carl Albert, however, dominated from the jump. Woodson scored 14 points in the first half, and his size was a mismatch down low.
“With Mac running five guards, my teammates and coaches instilled in me they wanted to feed me in the post as much as they could,” Woodson said. “So that’s what we did starting from the tip.”
As the clock winded down and the game was in hand, Carl Albert began celebrating. Cudjo handed the ball to Jaden Harrell, who tossed it high into the air as the buzzer sounded. The sea of white jerseys flooded the hardwood.
The Titans were champions yet again.
“It’s tremendous,” Price said. “On our way to Tulsa last year, we feel like we were playing the best we had played all year with maybe a shot.
“What a performance they did today. It’s a thrill.”