Oran boys basketball earns first state title with win over Crane
COLUMBIA, Mo. For Oran sophomore Jacob Shoemaker, Saturday was years in the making. After all, he had been dreaming about this moment winning a boys basketball state championship since the day he was born.
So minutes after Oran captured its first-ever state title by defeating Crane 70-63 at Mizzou Arena, he struggled to put the moment he had been envisioning for over a decade into words. Sitting aside his father, Eagles coach Joe Shoemaker, and a few feet away from senior teammate Max Priggel, Shoemaker was in a title daze.
"It's like a dream," Shoemaker said. "I haven't woken up yet."
Shoemaker propelled the Eagles to the championship with a game-high 33 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field. He was 16 of 19 from the free-throw line and hit numerous free throws down the stretch when Crane tried to claw its way back into the game.
Priggel added 19 points, including 14 in the first half, and eight rebounds and Layne Johnson chipped in 10 points.
It all added up to an historic win for an Eagles team that before this season hadn't been in a championship game in 48 years. More recently, Oran couldn't get past Advance, losing to the Hornets the past three years in the district title game.
So for the Eagles, this moment has been a long time coming.
"It's ecstatic right now," coach Shoemaker said. "To be able to come through with a win like this. I know a lot of people at the beginning of the year didn't expect us to be here, but our kids believed and they battled.
"Like I said, it's a total team effort. Maybe not tonight, but other nights getting here with the foul trouble we faced and kids stepping up. I'm very proud of our team and very grateful for our community with the great support they gave us up here."
It didn't hurt that Oran had a full contingent of healthy players for the postseason. It was the first time in the last four year the Eagles has had a full roster for playoffs, according to coach Shoemaker.
Those past defeats helped season the team, too.
"We finally learned from those mistakes we made those last couple years as a team," Priggel said. "Jacob, Layne, Cole (Priggel), they've all kind of matured a little bit because they were sophomores, freshmen out there and now theyre juniors and stuff. I think everybody's maturing, and I'm just proud of how far we've come."
Drew Reischman, who had some crucial free throws in Thursday's 64-59 semifinal win over Sacred Heart, added six points and seven rebounds Saturday.
While Oran didn't have anyone over 6-foot-1, and Crane started 6-3 center Deven White, the Eagles out rebounded Crane 30-28, including 19-14 in the final two quarters, and Crane coach Craig Campbell said his team struggled to deal with the Eagles' physicality.
Oran (23-8) did start slow against Crane. The Pirates (20-11) scored the first six points and led 8-2 early. In the semifinal, Oran trailed by double digits in the first half, so the Eagles weren't fazed. A Max Priggel 3-pointer jump-started a 13-5 run to end the quarter as the Eagles took a 15-13 advantage into the second.
In that period, Oran's offense sputtered as the Eagles went more than 3 minutes without a point. But a 3-pointer from Shoemaker at the buzzer cut a four-point deficit to one, 28-27, heading into the break.
"We left their two best shooters open a couple times in the first half and allowed them to keep it close, especially that 3 right there going into halftime that was a lot of momentum for them going into halftime," Campbell said. "And we didn't shoot it well."
With Shoemaker heating up he scored 25 of his 33 points in the second half Oran outscored Crane by six in the third to take a 48-43 lead into the final eight minutes.
The Pirates never got closer than five, and when Crane did cut it to five with about two minutes left, Campbell's team promptly self-destructed with two technical fouls in the span of 11 seconds. By the time the dust settled, Oran had made six free throws to push the lead to 11 and two Crane starters had fouled out guard Dalton Hayes and White. Hayes scored 23 points.
Crane made it interesting late, hitting three 3-pointers in the final 38 seconds.
But the Eagles put the ball in Shoemaker's hands, and Jacob delivered from the line.
So when the final buzzer sounded, Oran was celebrating its first title in program history.
That victory ensured Max Priggel and fellow seniors Luke Barnes and Wyatt Kinney went out on top.
"I always hear people talk about how they have regrets, like their last game because it's my senior year, and they always regret," Priggel said. "There's always a couple things they wished they could have done different or wished they would have played a little harder or something, and I don't think I have a whole lot of regrets since we won state."
As Priggel finished speaking from his seat on the dais, Jacob playfully whispered, loud enough for others in the room to hear, "free throws." It was a reference to a couple of misses Priggel had in the last few minutes at the line.
Priggel and the two Shoemakers laughed.
In that moment, missed free throws didn't seem quite so important.
Oran was, after all, state champions.
CRANE (63) Tyler Campbell 9, Dalton Hayes 23, Wyatt Vaught 8, Deven White 5, Colton Elder 6, Brent Williams 7, Braydon Cook 2, Bryston Branstetter 3. FG 21-47. FT 15-19. F 27. (3-pointers: Williams 2-2, Vaught 2-7, Branstetter 1-1, Hayes 1-5. Fouled out: Hayes, White.)
ORAN (70) Max Priggle 19, Layne Johnson 10, Jacob Shoemaker 33, Cole Priggel 2, Drew Reischman 6. FG 19-43. FT 26-36. F 14. (3-pointers: Shoemaker 3-4, M. Priggel 2-12, Johnson 1-1. Fouled out: None.)
- Photos from the game (03/11/17)