Long’s three-pointer propels Mustang to tourney championship

Mustang sophomore guard Jakolby Long drives the lane for a basket in the Bruce Gray Invitational last weekend. (Photo/Kyle Salomon)

By Kyle Salomon

A late 3-pointer from sophomore guard Jakolby Long saved the day for Mustang in its second tournament championship win of the season.

With five seconds remaining Saturday night in the title game of the Bruce Gray Invitational at Deer Creek High School, Long had the ball on the right wing with an Edmond Memorial defender in his face. Despite the tight defense, the 6-foot-5 sophomore from Mustang rose up and swished a 3-pointer to give the Broncos a one-point lead at 51-50.

Mustang’s defense held the Bulldogs in the final five seconds to secure the victory and the tournament championship for MHS. The 51-50 win over Memorial improved the Broncos record to 12-3 on the season.

In the semifinal game on Friday night, Mustang took on Putnam City North for the second time in less than a week. The Broncos dismantled the Panthers 87-66. In its first game of the tournament on Jan. 23, Mustang hammered Northeast 80-64.

“I thought we played pretty solid throughout the tournament,” Mustang head coach Terry Long said. “I thought our defense in the last game against Edmond Memorial was a lot better than it has been. I was proud of the guys for overcoming adversity in that final game.”

Jakolby Long was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and senior guard Demarion Love and junior guard Terrell Williams were each named to the All-Tournament team for the Broncos.

Jakolby said it was all about the team’s defense in the title game.

“We just wanted to focus on playing better defense,” he said. “We know that is the key to us getting to March 15, and that is all that matters right now. We just have to keep improving and getting better every day.”

In the championship game against Edmond Memorial, the Broncos got off to a slow start in the first period. Mustang’s defense struggled against the ball movement offensive from the Bulldogs and Memorial was on fire from beyond the arc. Long’s outside shooting was stout as well in the period, keeping the score close at 18-15 in favor of Edmond Memorial after one.

The Broncos defense started to exert itself in the second period as the Mustang guards were making life miserable for the Bulldog guards. The length and athleticism from the Bronco perimeter players gave Edmond Memorial all kinds of fits as Mustang took a 30-25 lead into the halftime locker room.

The third period almost directly mirrored the second as the Broncos D was continuing to suffocate the Memorial offense. The MHS offense was stout and consistent as it put a 15-spot on the scoreboard for the third consecutive period. Mustang led 45-34 after three.

Things got a little dicey for Mustang in the fourth period as they saw their double-digit lead vanish in a heartbeat as Memorial was making a furious comeback on the Broncos. The Bulldogs retook the lead with under a minute to play when Long’s heroics stole the show and gave Mustang the one-point victory.

“I felt good with my shot all night long,” Jakolby said. “I felt like a good look at the basket and when I let it go I knew it was in.”

The Broncos defeated Putnam City North in a district road battle on Jan. 21 by a score of 77-66.

Mustang had 36 rebounds in the game and made 22 out of 32 foul shots. The Broncos also committed 21 turnovers in the game.

Long led the team with 25 points and seven rebounds in the contest.

Mustang took on Edmond North in a district battle on Monday night at home, and will play Choctaw at home Friday night on homecoming night for the Broncos.

You can reach Kyle Salomon at ksalomon@mustangnews.info

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