MIDWEST CITY — Piedmont’s defense did everything right during Northwest Classen’s final play Friday night.
With Classen forced to traverse the length of the court, Piedmont pinched the middle of the floor, forced a twice-tipped pass and a contested, off-balance shot as time expired.
None of it was enough.
Mo Wilson’s 3-pointer banked home as the buzzer sounded to give 18th-ranked Northwest Classen a 53-51 win over Piedmont in a Class 5A regional playoff game played at Carl Albert High School Friday evening.
The loss ended Piedmont’s season at 7-17 overall and also the careers of six Wildcat seniors.
“The ball’s tipped and credit to him, he picks it up and makes a great play,” Piedmont head coach Troy Lallemand said of the final play. “You can’t do anything different defensively.”
Wilson finished with 15 points. JayQuan Gant put in 17 to lead the Knights, while Adokiye Iyaye poured in 27 for Piedmont to lead all scorers in the loss.
Just before Wilson’s heroics in a wild and hectic final minute, three Trevor Bailey free shots gave Piedmont a 49-46 lead with 49.2 to play. But a pair of free throws by Wilson followed by a steal and layup in the backcourt, also from Wilson, put the Knights in front 50-49 with less than 30 seconds to play.
Piedmont answered, though, with a perfectly executed backdoor cut finished by Iyaye off a threaded pass from Addaryl Quinn with 3.8 seconds left.
“We knew what we wanted to run. We’ve run that several times before,” Lallemand said of the backdoor. “Had that backdoor not been there, I would’ve called a quick timeout. They showed a lot of toughness there.”
The Wildcats led by as many as six in the second half and by five midway through the fourth quarter after Classen opened the game with an 8-0 run.
Lallemand reflected, with tears in his eyes, about this year’s senior class moments after the loss.
“I’ve never been so close to a group of kids. They’re great kids,” he said. “I’m just thankful and honored I got to coach them and hurt that I don’t get to see them anymore.”