OKLAHOMA CITY — Saturday’s championship game at the Bishop McGuinness Classic was one of the more unique starts either Norman North or the host team will have this season. The T-Wolves’ first five baskets were 3-pointers, the game’s first foul didn’t come until the closing seconds of the first half and at one point in the first half the Timberwolves held the ball near midcourt for 90 seconds daring the Irish to come out of their triangle-and-two defense.
It also had one of the wildest finishes either team will have this season, and it ended in a Bishop McGuinness victory when senior Will Lienhard hit a fallaway jumper at the buzzer to deliver Class 5A’s No. 1 Irish a 41-39 victory.
Back and forth the entire second half after Bishop McGuinness overcame an eight-point first-half deficit, the game stood tied at 37 with 1:20 left when the teams began to trade big shot after big shot. First it was 6-8 big man Lienhard, who powered his way through the Timberwolves for a layup to put Bishop McGuinness on top. The Irish had a chance to ice the game after rebounding a missed Timberwolves’ shot but missed both free throws, allowing Marcus Dickinson to draw Lienhard out of the lane and then find Payton Prince for a game-tying layup with five seconds left.
That set the stage for the final play, where the Irish inbounded the ball and then found Lienhard along the baseline, where he turned to face up and shot a fadeaway jump shot from 12 feet out to seal the game as the buzzer sounded.
It capped a huge night for Lienhard, who finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks and four assists as his presence dominated the contest from start to finish. With Lienhard patrolling the paint, the Timberwolves were unable to attack the basket and couldn’t effectively challenge him when they did. North shot just seven free throws in the game, compared to Bishop McGuinness’ 11, and had a hard time finding any open space for jumpers.