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Broken Arrow hits game-winning jump shot to beat Stillwater

Jan. 24—Broken Arrow's David Howell rose up for his game-winning jumper as the Stillwater defense did everything in its power to stop it. Calvin Armstrong had both hands in the shooter's face.

Howell calmly adjusted in mid air and drained the 12-foot jumper with 3.4 seconds left to help the Tigers stun the Pioneers 46-44 on Tuesday.

Ryker Martin led Stillwater with 17 points. Terrance Burri scored 13 and Trey Tuck added 12.

It was an intense 27 minutes as both sides traded leads numerous times with high-level playmaking. But the game slowed down in the final five minutes as Broken Arrow had a three-minute possession that resulted in zero points. Then, Stillwater took another minute off the clock before being called for a lane violation.

Coach Scott Morris and the home crowd were infuriated.

"The kid actually never got within six feet of him until the four-count. He narrowed in for a split-second," Morris said. "He was about eight feet off him for the entire count."

The call set up Howell's game winner. But Morris said missed free throws cost the Pioneers more than a blown call.

"I got to go in there and tell my guys, 'Guess what? Just like life, sports aren't fair,'" he said. "We can still do things that control the outcome. If you leave it in an official's hand, chances are it's going to get messed up and you have to live with those results."

After the game, Morris had what he called a cordial conversation with the officiating crew.

"I really appreciated and respected that they were open-minded and said, 'Let's take a look at this and make sure we get it right next time,'" Morris said. "I think in that regard it was progress."

From a spectator's perspective, the game's last five minutes soured a fun competition. A shot clock would go a long way in improving that.

In January 2023, the OSSAA vote on instituting a 35-shot clock for the 2024-25 season was split between directors. Board President Rex Trent provided the tie-breaking vote, which ultimately denied the motion.

Morris has been a coach for 30 years, and he's seen shot clocks implemented and changed before. He said they're speeding up the game and dissolving the fundamentals.

"If you think (high school) sports are for entertainment for the fans, then you probably want a shot clock," Morris said. "If you think they're for the integrity of the process and the refinement and the grind and the trenches and the battle in between the lines, then I don't think a shot clock benefits the game."

He said, however, he'd be in favor of a shot clock if the OSSAA left it at 30 or 35 seconds permanently.

"But I've watched. Anytime they put a shot clock in anywhere, the next year they want to just squeeze a little more out of it," Morris said. "Because the biggest thing now is schools have to put up the hardware and they have to hire people to run it."

At that point, he said, the OSSAA might as well put in a seven seconds or less rule.

"I want aunt and uncle up in the stands to enjoy this game," Morris said sarcastically. "What does that matter? I want these kids to come out and play and use strategy."

Stillwater has another home game Friday against Choctaw.