Bulldogs triumph at McGuinness Classic

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Junior Sean Pedulla celebrates a good play on the court during a game.

Emma McCabe, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The gym held its breath as the last seconds of the final game in the 60th annual boys basketball tournament, the McGuinness Classic, approached. Edmond Memorial, ranked fourth, faced off against Midwest City, ranked third. In a last second stunner, the Bulldogs pulled through to claim ‘Champion’ in their second big tournament this season. 

“Our guys have a deep desire to compete at the highest levels and I am very pleased with our competitive drive,” head coach Shane Cowherd said. “Tournament play is tough, and you have to adjust quickly and often. We have done a good job of working through those early season challenges, and I am pleased with their maturation.”

Despite various injuries on the team providing a consistent obstacle during both off-season and regular season, their current record stands at 12-2. In addition to their outstanding performance at McGuinness they placed first in another tournament, the Edmond Open, in December. 

“I feel as though we are a very close group, everyone gets along with everyone, and we have a ton of potential,” said junior basketball player Sean Pedulla. “We haven’t even played a whole game with everyone healthy so I think this weekend showed that even without the whole team together we can still fight to get it done.”

The overall chemistry and motivated attitude of the boys has proved key to their success and a defining part of what it means to be part of the Memorial basketball program. 

“Memorial basketball is a program unlike any other in the school and state,” senior team captain Michael Forhan said. “We hold ourselves to high expectations and do not expect anything less. This team in particular, I feel like we are a tight knit family and band of brothers.” 

The difference between this season and years’ past can be tracked throughout the levels of leadership found on the team.

“Many of the guys have taken the leadership roles as we all respect and listen to each other, this year I feel like we as a whole are a more vocal team that lead together,” Forhan said. “In the past we’ve had one person we look to but this year it’s more like we all look to each other.” 

Their family like bond seems to drive them to continue to play not just for success but for each other. Questions such as ‘what value am I bringing to the program daily and how can I improve myself and my team today’ are heavily promoted by both the coaching staff and the players themselves each and every training session. 

“Our goals are always to be a better version of ourselves today than we were the day before.,” Cowherd said. “I’m starting to see some growth in our ability to adapt and overcome, and that is crucial for state tournament success.” 

Looking forward the Bulldogs have their sights on competing for the championship in their final tournament at Deer Creek, competing for a conference title and eventually on to playoffs and state tournament. 

“I think every team says their goal is to win the state championship, it’s almost like an obligation to say that, but being on a team last year that should’ve won it all but came up a little short, I can say that we have what it takes to actually win,” Pedulla said. “Only thing different about this year is that we’re learning from past mistakes and making sure they won’t come around in the end.”

Contact Emma McCabe at [email protected].