By JASON EPP
Leader & Times
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The Forgan Bulldogs quest for a third-straight state title came to an end in the first round of the state tournament. The physical and quick Coyle Bluejackets took down the Bulldogs 65-57 in what may turn out to be their toughest game on their way to a state title.
“I’m proud of my kids,” Bulldogs Coach Todd Kerr. “I thought we competed at the highest level. We needed some breaks and we didn’t get any. Things just didn’t go our way. I thought we played pretty well.”
Coyle matched and in many cases surpassed Forgan’s athleticism with quick guards who were disruptive and physical at the defensive end. The presence of 6-6 Tony Aska, who finished with 6 blocks, allowed them to play aggressive on the perimeter.
“They had a force inside and some really good guards, and one that was really, really good,” Kerr said.
But even with all this, Forgan bounced back from an 11-6 deficit to outscore Coyle 7-1 over the final 2 minutes of the first to take a 13-12 lead.
Coyle started the second quarter with an 8-0 run that proved to be the difference in the game, and put the Bluejackets up 20-13.
Forgan cut the lead to four twice before half, but trailed 28-22 at half.
Chandler Bryer took over at the offensive end for the Bulldogs to start the second half. Bryer scored 13 in the first nine minutes of the second half, including three 3-pointers, and brought Forgan back to within two (45-43).
But that was as close as the Bulldogs could get, and for every surge Forgan had, Coyle had an answer.
“They answered every run we had,” Kerr said. “They answered with a big shot every time we would get it where we needed to be. Every time it was a one possession game they answered. That’s what good teams do.”
Chandler Bryer finished the game 7 of 14 from the field, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range for a team-high 17 points. Jace Kerr totaled 15 on 6 of 13 shooting and grabbed 9 rebounds. Jake Regier ended his incredible high school career with 11 points.
Forgan finishes the season with a 26-3 record, and a three year record of 82-5.
“I’ve been blessed to be a part of something that’s way bigger than anything I ever imagined, and it’s because I’ve been surrounded by an incredible bunch of kids,” Kerr said. “We didn’t win the game tonight, but this isn’t over. I feel bad for my seniors. I appreciate all the work they put in. I appreciate all the support we got. You get knocked down in life, and we’re going to get up and we’ll be back fighting again next year.”