A 'Big House' story, another reason sports are so great
Community Christian's Cade Bond was offering answers through tears when a couple of Millwood fans just had to talk to him
Note: I continue to write a Sunday column for The Norman Transcript. This will appear in the March 13 print edition of the newspaper.
OKLAHOMA CITY — To write sports over years and years and years is to accumulate memorable moments
Before leaving this newspaper as a full-timer about 10 weeks ago, recalling the richness I’d been fortunate to accumulate, I mentioned three: Ben Barrett setting the state mile mark, Aiden Hayes setting the state-meet pool ablaze and Andres Kinney’s slow-motion goal to beat Jenks.
Two Norman North moments, one Norman High.
Saturday, a new one.
It’s from Community Christian and I’ll put it alongside each of them or maybe a little higher, because while it had everything to do with that happened on the court, it came off the court.
Through tears, having just been beaten for the Class 3A state championship, CCS senior point guard Cade Bond was gracious enough to answer a few questions, and that was when a couple of Millwood fans, on their way out of State Fair Arena, changed direction and walked toward us.
Two men, perhaps old Falcon athletes, they had a message.
Not for me.
“Hell of a game,’ one of them said. “I’m telling you, all of your shots were challenged, man, and you were making them.”
The meeting wasn’t long, maybe 20 seconds and a couple fist bumps and it was over.
It was fantastic.
It was beautiful.
Good chance, those guys have seen a whole lot of terrific high school basketball.
In Oklahoma City, but not part of the Oklahoma City school system, Millwood’s its own district and a community, too.
Falcon Nation is a real thing.
The boys program has won 15 state titles since 1976, four between 2006 and 2012. Saturday’s was its first since.
Just maybe, Bond’s admirers watched every single one of them. And Saturday, when it was over, they couldn’t leave without offering their respect to an opponent.
Sports are great, right?
Bond deserved it.
His whole team deserved it.
He and junior center Bai Jobe played a tourney for the ages, Bond finishing the three games in four days with with 54 points and Jobe with 54 and 40 rebounds, which might be a state tourney record or a Class 3A state tourney record, if only such records were kept, but they’re not, which makes no sense at all.
Yet, if the runners of the state tourneys in our state can’t mark time with data, at least the athletes, young men and women, can give us the kinds of performances Bond and his teammates began offering late Wednesday night. Bond and Jobe were the stars, but the Royals were nowhere without others, too.
Collin Bond, Cade’s brother, just a sophomore, may not have beaten Washington in the first round all by himself, but it felt that way with a cross-country 3 that put CCS up for good, followed by two steals on two final-minute possessions that kept the Warriors from even attempting a couple of game-tying or -winning tries. Friday, he didn’t miss a free throw, hitting six in the fourth quarter to keep top-ranked Oklahoma Christian School down.
Noah Robinson was huge Saturday, keeping the Royals close enough while Millwood’s defense stifled his teammates. And, though coach Tim Price’s bench got a lot shorter as the season became a single-elimination race, he was playing pretty much everybody until it became one.
Leafing through a notebook from the night I was there to watch CCS beat the OKC Knights 69-41, I found some stats: 10 Royals scored, 11 attempted a shot and 10 grabbed rebounds, including Hudson Thrailkill, who scored no points and attempted no shots, but led his team with five rebounds.
If you’ve got to lose the last game of the season on the last day of the season to the last shot of the season, the shot Millwood’s Chance Davis hit, a 3-pointer from the right corner, the buzzer sounding as it splashed through the net giving the Falcons their 53-50 triumph, that’s the kind of team you want to lose with.
“It’s the best experience,” Cade Bond said.
A minute or two later, after a few more hugs from the Royal faithful, he finally walked toward the locker room door to join his teammates.
Still, others wanted a word.
“Good game No. 10,” one said. “You can hoop.”
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