The Wilburton High School Academic Team earned the title of Class 3A State Champions on Saturday, February 4, at Redlands Community College in El Reno, Oklahoma. This is the Academic Team’s first state title. They had previously been state runner-up in 2012 and 2004. This is an amazing accomplishment for the team, the coaches Gordon Bockus and Lisa Baker, and the administration.
The Wilburton team went into Saturday’s tournament ranked the top team in the 3A division. They were Regional Champions and Area Champions. At the area tournament, they averaged 256 points a game. They played Adair in round 1 and defeated them 220 to 190. In the second round, they played Crossings Christian who was ranked second overall. They defeated them 260 to 100. They met rival Warner, whom they had defeated at Area, in the third round. However, this game did not go in Wilburton’s favor, and they lost by 40 points with a score of 150 to 190. After a lunch break and an off round, Wilburton played Preston and defeated them 270 to 160. In round 6, Wilburton faced Warner again. This time they finished ahead with a score of 230 to 80. This forced the teams into a seventh round for the championship. Wilburton defeated Warner 250 to 140. With an average of 236 points a game, Wilburton earned the state trophy.
Captain and senior Roy Phipps led the team to this victory. This was his second trip as captain to the state tournament. He scored 270 points overall for an average of 45 points a game. Freshman James McCabe was high scorer with a total of 280 points, an average of 47 points a game. Freshman Andrew Hawthorne was third high scorer with 160 total points. Seniors Colt Petty, Gloria Evans, and Cody Johnston also helped the team score throughout the day. Senior Joe Dunagan assisted the team by serving as the required scorekeeper/timekeeper. Other team members in attendance included junior Gilles Goddard, freshmen Stage Watkins, Gavin Sockey, LaShan Jackson, and Morgan Anderson. Coach Baker and Coach Bockus are extremely proud of all these students.
The victory is especially sweet for Coach Gordon Bockus. He helped begin the Academic Bowl Competition over thirty years ago. He has coached the high school team and been active with the OSSAA and Oklahoma Academic Coaches Association for three decades. He has served in numerous offices and capacities over his tenure. He was previously honored as Coach of the Year. Coach Bockus will be retiring at the end of this school year, so he is thrilled to go out with this kind of win. It was an emotional experience.
A special thanks goes out to the Wilburton Lions’ Club and Cindy Dye of Community State Bank for helping with hotel cost. Also thanks to Henry Bockus and Bruce Bockus (Coach Bockus’ brothers) for Friday night’s meal and to Richard and Becky Grau (Coach Baker’s parents) for helping with Saturday’s dinner. The team appreciates all the support.