By Michael Kinney
Tondrell Durham may have gotten more than he expected in his first game as head boys basketball coach at Mustang. Facing Deer Creek, the game was filled with runs, back-and-forth action and a clutch game-winning shot.
Behind Zalek Sharp, the Broncos opened the season with a 65-64 win over the Antlers Tuesday night at MHS.
“I think we played hard,” Durham said. “It was good to see we were able to pull that one out. There is still work to be done.”
The work comes in the fact that Mustang let a lead slip away in the final minutes and allowed Deer Creek to go ahead.
Leading by one, Antlers went to the foul line with 28 seconds left in the game. However, they missed the foul shot and turned the ball over. Mustang had possession with 14 seconds left in the game and down by one point.
Sharp drove down the middle of the paint and knocked in a shot as he was fouled.
“I was trying to draw a foul, really,” Sharp said. ‘Getting a bucket was part of that to. It just happened to go in.”
Sharp missed his free throw attempt with 7.8 seconds left and Deer Creek got the ball. After crossing half court and calling a timeout, they had just a few seconds to get off a shot.
The Antlers went to Elijah Allen, who drove to the rim, but his shot was off target and the Broncos stormed the floor.
“We really didn’t play that good,” Sharp said. “But we just toughed it out and we still have a lot of stuff to improve on. We just stayed tough, stayed resilient.”
After falling behind by 9 in the first quarter, Mustang slowly reeled Deer Creek back in during the second quarter. With Phil Baker finding his basketball legs, he and Zalek Sharp helped tie the game with four minutes left in the first half.
But it was the defense of the Broncos that took center stage. With DeShawn Franklin, Tanner Krause and Kyle Caquillette scrambling for a loose ball and picking up steals, they had the Antlers frazzled.
The Broncos took a 40-39 advantage into halftime.
The third quarter belonged to Sharp offensively. He was able to score from inside and out, which put the Antlers defense in predicament.
Sharp’s ability to also bring the ball up the floor and help break the full court press allowed Mustang to score on easy fast breaks.
“He made some big buckets,” Durham said of Sharp. “He shot a few 3s, but he didn’t shoot very many. Most of his points were inside the arc. That’s good. If he is attacking the basket, being aggressive, that’s good for our team.”
Mustang led by four heading into the fourth quarter.
Deer Creek closed the gap to 57-53 before Coquillette drained a 3-pointer from in front of the Broncos bench. But Micah Sinor answered with a short jumper.
However, Coquillete knocked in another long trey from the other side of the court to put MHS up 63-55 with 4:45 left in the game.
Mustang will go on the road and face Norman North Friday before coming back home to host Edmond Memorial Tuesday. The biggest change Durham wants to see by then is more fans at the game.
“I just want the community to get in these stands and support these kids,” Durham said.