Trojans punch ticket to state with OT win over Broken Arrow
Jenks boys basketball is heading back to the state tournament for the first time since 2015 after a dramatic ending to the area tournament over the weekend.
Jenks had the opportunity to punch their ticket to state on Friday but lost to Union in a tight 66-64 game. The Trojans needed to bounce back Saturday at Catoosa and defeat Broken Arrow, but the Tigers proved to be no easy opponent.
The scoreboard and momentum had been on Jenks’ side for most of the contest. Chase Martin closed the first half off with a step back three point shot in the corner to make it a 28-22 game. The Trojans rode that lead throughout the third despite Broken Arrow’s best efforts to tire Jenks, picking them up full court.
It was in the fourth period that the lead slipped away.
The Tiger defense stayed pesky, picking the Trojan’s pockets more than a few times. Those steals led to fast break points and Broken Arrow took its first lead at 40-39 with 5:17 left in the game.
Despite the push from the Tigers, Jenks didn’t let up. Benjamin Averitt, who led the game in scoring with 20 points, tied the game up at 46-46 with 24 seconds remaining. Neither team would score, forcing overtime.
It was in the extra period that the Trojans put Broken Arrow away. Jenks didn’t allow a single point to be scored and won the game 56-46.
Late in the fourth quarter senior Ike Houston fouled out and Martin called on sophomore Stephen Kittleman to step up and play in the game’s biggest minutes.
Kittleman has never been the scoring type. He rose to the challenge and gave the Trojans the boost they needed on defense. He scored two points in the fourth quarter and hit just 1-of-3 free throws in the overtime period, a category with which Jenks struggled all night.
Kittleman’s minutes have come sparingly, however, he doesn’t need consistent time on the court to do his job.
“Coach Martin talks about, don’t count your minutes, just make your minutes count,” Kittleman said. “You’ve always got to be ready and he called my name and I said, ‘let’s go.’ He trusted me and gave me all the strength I needed.”
Averitt’s scoring outburst propelled Jenks to the victory.
Broken Arrow deployed a more physical type of defense than the Trojans expected. In-game adjustments saw Martin leaning on Averitt to step up in the scoring column. He hit eight shots and was 4-for-5 from the charity stripe.
“Our game is becoming more and more about match ups,” coach Clay Martin said. “We were not anticipating them (Broken Arrow) to start the way they did but once we saw it, we started going right to Ben. He answered the call.”
Averitt credits the team’s trust in one another for his big night.
“It’s just confidence,” he said. “I trust my teammates. We do what we need to do and we have a great coach in coach Martin and he got us ready. We went out there and did what we needed to do.”
Now the Trojan’s sights are set on the state tournament.
Jenks will be matched up with Edmond Memorial Thursday at Memorial High School in Tulsa. The game will tip off at 2 p.m.
After clinching a state tournament berth, the team is feeling confident.
“I think the ceiling is the state championship,” Averitt said. “I think we have the right group of guys and I think we can do it.”