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Aaron Cook's late heroics lead BA boys into soccer quarterfinals
HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER PLAYOFFS

Aaron Cook's late heroics lead BA boys into soccer quarterfinals

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BROKEN ARROW — It was a game-time decision regarding whether he would even play in the game, but in the end, Broken Arrow is very glad that Aaron Cook suited up.

Cook didn’t get on the field until the second half, and he scored the game-winning goal with 6:38 remaining to lift the Tigers to a dramatic 1-0 victory over Jenks on Tuesday night at the Kirkland Soccer Complex.

“Just yesterday, I hurt my ankle, so I wasn’t sure I was going to play this game and, I kept telling the coaches, ‘I’m good, I’m good,’ and it hurts, but I got in position and it happened, and I’m glad I played,” Cook said. “I hit it in and it went in. The most exhilarating moment of my high school career.”

Broken Arrow (13-2-1), which has now won five in a row, advances to the quarterfinals on Friday against Union, which defeated Enid in their first-round matchup.

“On our white board before the game, we wrote, ‘The toughest team is going to win the game,’” said BA interim head coach J.J. Jedamski, who took over from Shane Schwab about two weeks ago. “Toughness is a choice and you’ve got to do whatever it takes to win. You’ve got to give Jenks a lot of credit, I thought they played their hearts out; we did, too. Honestly, I thought we had a couple more chances than they did and I think the ball kind of bounced our way and we finished one, and that’s nice. But credit to Jenks for a hard-fought match.”

It was a disappointing end to the season for Jenks (9-6), the defending state champions from 2019 who had beaten Broken Arrow 3-2 back on March 11.

“It was a disappointing match and I knew these Jenks/Broken Arrow matches are always going to be some kind of clash from the very beginning,” Jenks coach Eric Marshall said. “Both teams went out there and gave their all, they just got a little bit extra on the night, by getting the goal at the end and we couldn’t get our chances to go on the other side. It was a battle.”

One key turning point occurred with 6:44 remaining when Jenks midfielder Azure Henry was ejected from the game after being shown his second yellow card, which becomes a red and left the Trojans a man short the rest of the game.

Off the ensuing free kick from about 25 yards out on the left side, BA’s Luke Ferguson squeaked it through the wall, and the ball bounced past several feet before landing on Cook’s, about 8 yards out off the right post, and he knocked it home.

Cook hopes to be able to play Friday in the quarterfinals.

“I’m upset that we lost and somewhat how we lost, with the late goal and being down a player,” Marshall said. “A little of it is happenstance, but that’s the nature of soccer. Feeling sad for the seniors because this was their last shot and I thought we had a pretty good chance of possibly going a little bit further, but that’s just the way it is.”

Broken Arrow 4, Bartlesville 1 (girls): Brianna Castleberry scored two goals in the second half to help clinch the win for Broken Arrow in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs.

Avery Malham and Gaby Bazan also scored for the Tigers (12-2), who have now won 10 of their past 11 contests. They now advance to the quarterfinals on Friday against Bixby, which upset Jenks in its matchup.

“Pretty happy with that,” said BA coach Kassie Embrey. “I think overall, effort was good and we remained pretty calm. I was pleased with it.”

Zoe McCabe scored the lone goal on a second-half penalty kick for Bartlesville (10-6), which had won five of its previous six outings.

Broken Arrow led 2-0 at halftime, and Castleberry struck just 1:30 into the second half to give the Tigers a little breathing room. After McCabe made it 3-1 with 29:36 remaining, Castleberry scored again with 10:58 left to put the game out of reach. Both goals came after Castleberry outdueled Bartlesville defenders to take possession of the ball.

“She’s doing great,” Embrey said of Castleberry. “She’s been working on finishing those 1v1s with the keeper and she’s doing great.”

Things went much better for Bartlesville than they did during the teams’ previous meeting, when the Tigers won 10-0 on Mar. 9. Even though they knew the Bruins didn’t have their full squad in that game, Embrey acknowledged that it was a point of emphasis to ignore the previous result.

“We knew the first time we played them they were missing tons of players, I think they had girls at basketball or track and then maybe Covid, I don’t know, but we knew it would be a much tougher game (this time),” she said. “We told our girls, ‘Don’t underestimate anybody, if you did already beat them. It’s playoffs, they have nothing to lose, if you go out there all cocky, it’ll bite you in the butt.’”

Broken Arrow 4,

Bartlesville 1 (girls)

Bartlesville 0 1 — 1

Broken Arrow 2 2 — 4

Goals: Bar, McCabe; BA, Malham (Furra), Bazan, Castleberry, Castleberry (Field).

Saves: Bar, Kirkland, 13; BA, Bass, 3.

Broken Arrow 1, Jenks 0 (boys)

Jenks 0 0 — 0

Broken Arrow 0 1 — 1

Goals: BA, Cook.

Saves: J, Spiegel, 4; BA, Martinez, 3.

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