MIAMI, OKLA. Veritas Christian School freshman Kirk Long is making a strong case for himself to be the tournament Most Valuable Player of the Oklahoma A&M; Invitational.
After a 12-point, eight-assist effort in the Eagles' first-round victory Thursday, Long exploded for 37 points and eight assists in a 72-56 semifinal victory Friday against Markoma (Okla.) Christian School.
"Had we not gone to run the clock out the last few minutes, Kirk could've had 40," Veritas coach Doug Bennett said.
The victory earned the Eagles a berth in the championship game today against the ACHF Lions from Joplin, Mo. Tipoff is 2:30 p.m. at the Civic Center.
Markoma had two 6-foot-3 players who gave the Eagles trouble early. One was Rodney Kappa, who finished with 31 points.
Long scored 24 points in the first half, however, and the game was tied at 36 at halftime.
"We're real excited to be in the championship game," Bennett said. "We have a tough opponent, but I think we match up well. If we come out with our 'A' game, we can bring home the championship."
Veritas Christian 72, Markoma (Okla.) Christian 56
Veritas 13 23 18 18 -- 72
Markoma 11 25 14 6 -- 56
Veritas -- Kirk Long 37, Andrew Bartlow 7, Matt Steinle 2, Michael Kay 4, Jesse Schultz 2, Mark Randtke 20.
Markoma -- Rodney Kappa 31, Justin Leach 13, Jeff Martin 4, Jeff Richardson 4, Nolan Dupar 4.