http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgThe Verdigris Cardinals celebrate their 75-62 victory over Heritage Hall to win the Oklahoma Class 3A boys basketball state championship. The win is the second in the school’s history. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
The Verdigris Cardinals celebrate their 75-62 victory over Heritage Hall to win the Oklahoma Class 3A boys basketball state championship. The win is the second in the school’s history. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Cherokee Nation jurisdiction schools compete at state

Sequoyah High School sophomore guard Jack Ragsdale goes in for a contested layup during the quarterfinal matchup against Atoka on March 10 in Yukon, Oklahoma. Atoka eliminated the Indians from the Class 3A basketball tournament. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Sequoyah High School sophomore guard Bobby Cade hits an easy layup during the quarterfinal matchup against Atoka on March 10 in Yukon, Oklahoma. Atoka won 71-67. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation citizen and Adair Lady Warrior Olivia Ratcliff dribbles past a Washington defender during the semifinal game on March 11 at Carl Albert High School in Midwest City, Oklahoma. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Sequoyah Lady Indians senior Taylor Owl is fouled by Raegan Roten of Washington as she goes for a layup during the quarterfinal game on March 10 in Midwest City, Oklahoma. Washington ended Sequoyah’s season in the first round. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation citizen Jace Shepherd of Fort Gibson drives past an Anadarko defender during the semifinal game March 11 at the State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation citizen Seth Martin of Fort Gibson shoots during the semifinal game against Anadarko on March 11 at the State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City.  MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Sequoyah High School sophomore guard Jack Ragsdale goes in for a contested layup during the quarterfinal matchup against Atoka on March 10 in Yukon, Oklahoma. Atoka eliminated the Indians from the Class 3A basketball tournament. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY STAFF REPORTS
&
MARK DREADFULWATER
Multimedia Editor – @cp_mdreadfulwat
03/23/2016 04:30 PM
3A Boys

Verdigris Cardinals win state title

BY MARK DREADFULWATER
Multimedia Editor

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Verdigris boys basketball team defeated Heritage hall 75-62 to win the Class 3A boys state championship at the State Fair Arena. The win is the second state championship in school history.

“This is my first one,” Verdigris head coach Randy Upshaw said. “I didn’t know what to feel but it feels pretty sweet.”

In a repeat matchup from the 2015 final, the Cardinals found themselves wanting to avenge the 11-point loss they sustained from the Chargers.

The first quarter saw back and forth action and ended with a 17-all tie. The second quarter was much the same, however the Cardinals gained a 2-point advantage going into halftime 33-31 behind Verdigris junior Brewster Peacock scoring 17 of his 24 points in the first half.

Verdigris entered the third with precision shooting from senior guard Trevor Moyer as he knocked down back-to-back 3s.

Up seven at the end of the third, the Cardinals did not let the Chargers get any closer. Peacock and his 24 points and eight rebounds led the 29-1 Cardinals. Senior Laef Payne had 17 points and Moyer finished with 13 points.

“We knew the way they play defense that we were going to have to be composed, handle the pressure and handle the ball,” Upshaw said. “Their the defending state champion. Their really athletic and we just played like we’re capable of.”

The Cardinals’ road to the final saw them battle Lincoln Christian in the quarterfinal game. Verdigris led the entire game beating the Bulldogs 57-45 behind Payne’s 25 points and 11 rebounds.

In the semifinal game against Atoka, No. 2 Verdigris started the game with a 9-2 run. However, the No. 3 Wampus Cats battled back taking the lead going into the half.

Verdigris came of the locker room swinging. Peacock and Payne’s strong 3-point shooting helped the Cardinals build a seven-point lead after the third quarter. In the fourth, Verdigris’ defense and strong outside shooting propelled them to an 80-60 victory.

“Your goal every year is to get to the state tournament,” Upshaw said. “Only one team can win it but as the season went along, I think it was a more realistic goal that we could win it. We didn’t play real well Thursday against Lincoln, but we played really good against Atoka and it carried over today.”

Indians lose in first round

BY MARK DREADFULWATER
Multimedia Editor

YUKON, Okla. – The Sequoyah High School boys team couldn’t overcome two long scoring droughts during its 71-67 loss to No. 3 Atoka in the first round of the Class 3A basketball tournament on March 10 at Yukon High School.

Atoka, coming from the same area, had double-digit victories over every opponent during its playoff run and went into the tournament as the No. 3 seed.

The Wampus Cats started by shooting well from the outside and built a 10-0 lead. Senior guard Kyle Sanders ended the Indians’ scoring drought at the 3:49 mark in the first quarter with two points.

“I wish we wouldn’t have started the game down 10,” SHS head coach Jay Herrin said.

Atoka led going into halftime, 36-27. The Indians’ offense came out of halftime with a 20-10 run that gained Sequoyah its first lead at the end of the third quarter, 47-46.

“Our kids don’t know how to quit,” Herrin said. “They’re going to fight until the very last second. That’s all they know, and that’s how we bring them up through our program. That’s what we believe in doing. Sometimes we come out on the topside and sometimes we come out a little short, but the effort is always going to be there. So I was proud of the kids the way they come out in third quarter and it was huge.”

However, the Wampus Cats used their size with another scoring run of 19-5 to start the fourth.

“They’re so big and they jump well and are athletic,” Herrin said. “They just got us outsized so much and it’s tough. You’re going to lose some of those battles and the best you can do is try hard every time to get a body on them, but still the ball is going to find those big guys.”

The Indians battled, but Atoka’s lead was too much. In the end, SHS stayed closer to Atoka than any team had all postseason.

SHS junior guard Tyeus Daugherty had a game-high 27 points. SHS senior post Hunter Soap finished with 10 points, and sophomore post Adam Saine scored nine.

The 71-67 loss ended the Indians’ season with a record of 22-8.

3A Girls

Adair girls lose to Washington

BY MARK DREADFULWATER
Multimedia Editor

MIDWEST CITY, Okla. – Seeing the Adair High School girls basketball team appear in the Class 3A state basketball tournament is nothing new. The Lady Warriors have qualified for the tourney for the past 11 years. However, for the seventh straight year, the Lady Warriors were eliminated from the tournament without winning the gold ball.

No. 3 Adair lost to No. 1 Washington 56-53 in the semifinal game on March 11 at Carl Albert High School.

With both teams coming off close first-round wins and low-scoring first halves, this game was no different. Both teams were aggressive defensively in the first half and neither team shot well. The half ended with Adair behind 15-13.

Washington’s shooting improved in the third quarter by starting with a 16-4 run.

“We talked before the game that we would always deal with adversity throughout a game,” Adair head coach Scott Winfield said. “That was the big-time adversity.”

Washington outscored Adair 21-9 in the third for a comfortable 14-point lead. However, Adair battled back with outstanding play from junior forward and Cherokee Nation citizen Olivia Ratcliff, senior guard Abbey Stephens and junior forward Keni Lippe.

“I thought we battled back and did a good job,” Winfield said. “I actually thought we played better when we got behind because I thought we played a little tight early. When we got behind, we played a little looser and I thought we ended up playing pretty well later in the game.”

Adair cut the Washington lead to one with less than a minute to play. However, Washington made and Adair missed key free throws down the stretch.

Adair loses two players to graduation, including Stephens, and Winfield said his team is already looking forward to next season.

“Our goal is to back where we left off. Maybe a game farther,” he said. “That’s what we’re looking forward to.”

Adair advanced to the semifinals by defeating the Perkins-Tryon Lady Demons, 38-36. Lippe scored 31 in the contest.

SHS girls end season in first round

BY MARK DREADFULWATER
Multimedia Editor

MIDWEST CITY, Okla. – The top-ranked Washington Lady Warriors ended the fifth-ranked Sequoyah High School Lady Indians’ chance at a championship repeat by beating them 42-38 on March 10 at Carl Albert High School.

During the low-scoring affair, SHS took an early lead 9-7 at the end of the first quarter. With neither team shooting well, Washington outscored the Lady Indians 7-4 in the second quarter to go into halftime up 14-13.

“We have not shot the ball very well for a while,” SHS head coach Larry Callison said. “We just had to battle to get points.”

The third quarter was nearly a mirror image of the first half with neither team securing a large lead. Each team scored 13 points in the frame and the Lady Warriors clung to a one-point lead going into the fourth quarter.

“We’ve won games on defense and it hasn’t been our offense all year, it’s been defense,” Callison said. “We held them low enough, but we just didn’t put the ball in the hole enough.”

Washington outscored the Lady Indians in the fourth 15-12 securing the four-point win.

“I’ve said this all year long, we’re not the most talented team,” Callison said. “These girls have just played their rears off and we’ve had to put pieces together in the puzzle and do some things they are not used to doing. Honestly, I didn’t know we’d get this far but I knew we would play hard.”

The Lady Indians will return 12 players for the 2016-17 campaign, and Callison said they’ll be a tough team to beat. “I’m proud of them. I think we’ll be really good next year, so I’m looking forward to that. No one wants to lose, but I’m proud of them.”

Sequoyah ended the season with 22 wins and 6 losses.

Kansas girls end season with first-round loss

BY STAFF REPORTS

MIDWEST CITY, Okla. – The Kansas High School girls basketball team was eliminated from the Class 3A basketball tournament on March 10 at Carl Albert High School.

The 43-18 loss to Alva ended the Comets’ season at 21-7.

No. 8 Kansas led No. 2 Alva early in the first quarter. However, Alva scored the 15 straight points to go ahead 17-3. A late second quarter bucket ended the Lady Comets’ 12-minute scoreless streak in the first half. The Ladybugs’ defense limited Kansas to only five points at halftime.

Alva’s defensive strategy continued as they pressed in the third quarter holding Kansas to only five points in the frame.

Kansas matched Alva’s scoring in the fourth quarter 8-8 but the game had already been decided as the Ladybugs built a 20-point lead going into the quarter.

4A Boys

Fort Gibson boys fall in state title game

BY MARK DREADFULWATER
Multimedia Editor

OKLAHOMA CITY – A Cinderella story. That term has been used to describe many sports teams’ improbable postseason runs. However, the Fort Gibson Tigers run to the Class 4A state championship game was just that – a Cinderella story.

The Tigers lost four starters from the 2014-15 campaign and were not expected to reach the state quarterfinals.

“I’m very proud of our guys,” Fort Gibson head coach Gary Hendrix said. “We lost four starters from a state tournament team last year. We had a lot of inexperience and our kids just kept getting better and kept working. They believed in themselves and their great kids. It’s a great run for us to be here.”

The eighth-seeded Tigers drew No. 1 Harrah in the first round, and with the Panthers having key starters with NCAA Division I collegiate commitments, victory seemed improbable.

The Tigers led throughout the game, but Harrah battled back after Fort Gibson’s scoring runs. Harrah clung to a 44-43 lead with 15 seconds to go after a made 3-point bucket. Then Tigers junior guard Rico Ybarra hit a 3-pointer in the closing seconds to give Fort Gibson the 46-44 victory.

“It was a great game,” Hendrix said. “We were fortunate to win and hit a big shot.”

Cherokee Nation citizens Seth Martin and Jace Shepherd finished the game with nine points and eight points, respectively.

In the semifinal game, Fort Gibson defeated the Anadarko Warriors 53-48.

The Tigers jumped out early with strong shooting from behind the 3-point arc. They hit five 3s in the first quarter to end the frame up 18-14. Unable to keep up the scoring pace, Fort Gibson gave up the lead through the second quarter to go into halftime down 27-23.

The Tigers trailed in the third quarter as the Warriors slowed down the game. They stalled by holding the ball at half court for nearly 2 minutes in the frame. A Fort Gibson bucket at the closing seconds of the third ended the stall.

The Tigers regained the lead in the fourth. A Warriors’ basket with 3.8 seconds left put the Anadarko within three, 51-48. However, controversy over the time clock marred the game’s closing seconds. Anadarko’s press forced the Tigers to call timeout. After the timeout, Fort Gibson’s Shepherd full-court pass led junior Kyle Dortch too far and as he jumped out of bounds, he threw the ball back in bounds. The ball rolled towards the sidelines and Martin picked it up and was immediately fouled sending him to the line to shoot two free throws. The clock was supposed to start immediately when any inbounds player touches the ball. However, it did not start until Martin picked it up. Only .7 seconds ran off the clock.

Martin sank both shots and the Tigers secured the 53-48 victory, sending them to the championship game.

“Our kids amaze me,” Hendrix said. “We’re playing really well and I’m just really proud of them.”

CN citizen Cole Hamilton led all players with 11 rebounds.

With any Cinderella story, it must come to an end. Fort Gibson lost to Douglass in the championship game, 57-45.

The Trojans used strong outside shooting for an early lead. The Trojans’ defense held the Tigers to 10 first quarter points ending the frame up 18-10. The Tigers found their shooting touch in the second quarter to cut the lead to 23-22 to close the half.

Douglass took control of the game in the third outscoring the Tigers 22-10 to increase its lead to 45-32 after three quarters. The Tigers outscored Douglass 13-12 in the fourth, but the game was already decided.

Hamilton had six points and seven rebounds. Shepherd also had six points.

“It was fun, real fun,” Hamilton said of his career. “It sucks that it is over, but it all has to end.”

The Tigers lose only Hamilton, and Shepherd said they are already looking forward to next season.

“No one thought we were going to be here,” Shepherd said. “We weren’t picked to win regionals or area or even a game at the state tournament. We proved a lot of people wrong and I’m proud of my team for that. This just shows all of our hard work is paying off. We just have to go back to Fort Gibson and work even harder and push ourselves to exhaustion each and every night to get back here.”

4A Girls

Hilldale ends season in semifinal game

BY STAFF REPORTS

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Hilldale High School girls basketball team ended its season with a 49-34 loss to Harrah High School in the semifinal game of the Class 4A state basketball tournament on March 11 at the State Fair Arena.

With Hilldale only down two points, 29-17, going into the fourth quarter, Harrah outscored the Lady Hornets 20-7 in the final stanza. The 15-point victory propelled the Lady Panthers into the championship game and ended Hilldale’s season at 25-5.

In the quarterfinal game, Hilldale jumped out to an eight-point advantage over Plainview after the first quarter and never gave up the lead. The Lady Hornets outscored Plainview in three of four quarters to secure their spot in the semifinal game.

Hilldale’s Katie Kirkhart had 22 points to lead her team.

The Lady Hornets made their second consecutive state tournament appearance under head coach Scott Hensley.

Fort Gibson girls upset by Broken Bow

BY STAFF REPORTS

BETHANY, Okla. – The Fort Gibson Lady Tigers were handed their first loss of the season during the quarterfinals of the Class 4A state basketball tournament on March 10 at Southern Nazarene University.

No. 7 Broken Bow overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half and won, 47-43. It was the Lady Savages first state tournament win since 1936.

Fort Gibson cruised through the playoffs with double-digit victories in its first five playoff games. It seemed the No. 1 Lady Tigers were on their way to another victory with their offense firing on all cylinders in the first half. However, a 10-point lead vanished as Broken Bow’s trapping defense turned up the pressure in the second half. During a stretch, the Lady Tigers went 0-for-6 from the field and managed to score two free throws.

In 2016, the Lady Tigers made their 12th straight state tournament appearance going in undefeated. Their last defeat was a semifinal game loss to Locust Grove in last year’s state tournament. Fort Gibson is expected to return every current roster player for 2016-17.

5A

Claremore falls to Woodward in OT

BY STAFF REPORTS

TULSA, Okla. ¬ – The Claremore High School girls basketball team lost to Woodward High School in the Class 5A state basketball championship game 50-41 on March 12 at the Mabee Center.

In a rematch of the 2001 championship game, Woodward built a 12-4 lead in the first quarter behind the 3-point shooting from Brennley Cloyd and Addison Rowley. Claremore battled back in the second quarter to lead 19-18 at halftime.

In the third, Claremore increased its lead to four points. The frame ended with the score 34-30.

Claremore did not score in the fourth quarter, however, and the Boomers only scored four points to send the game into overtime.

Claremore’s scoring drought continued in overtime as it did not score until the 1:57 mark. That allowed the Boomers to build an unsurpassable lead.

Claremore’s season closed with 23 wins and 6 losses.

To reach the championship game, the Zebras defeated Carl Albert 54-47 on March 10 at Memorial High School.

Claremore’s strong shooting from everywhere on the floor kept the Zebras ahead throughout the game. However, Carl Albert kept it close until Claremore’s Lauren Chancellor hit 5 of 6 from the free throw line.

The win gave Claremore its 12th straight and 18 of its last 19.

In the semifinal game, No. 5 Claremore upset No. 3 Shawnee 54-44 on March 11 at the Mabee Center. Again Claremore’s hot shooting was the catalyst to victory.

Shawnee battled back from 11 points down in the fourth quarter. However, after tying the game at 42 midway through the fourth Claremore finished the game with a 12-2 run.

The Zebra’s 6-foot-2 post player Lauryn Blevins had 10 points.

Pryor boys, girls end season in first round

BY STAFF REPORTS

TULSA, Okla. – For the first time in the school’s history, the Pryor Tigers and Tigerettes played games in the state tournament on the same day. However, both team’s quests for the gold ball were short-lived.

The Tigers made their second consecutive trip to the Class 5A state tournament. This year’s trip ended as it did a year ago, with a loss to Lawton Eisenhower in the quarterfinals, 73-54.

No. 10 Pryor led twice during the game, however, those leads were in the first two minutes of the first quarter. The Eagles led the rest of the way behind Mookie Douglas’ game-high 21 points.

Pryor ends its season at 19-9.

On the girl’s side, the No. 10 Pryor Tigerettes lost to No. 3 Shawnee 49-38.

In a low-scoring affair, the scored was tied at 12 going into the half.

Senior guard Kelsie Kerns was the only scoring spark for the Tigerettes in the first half and into the third scoring 13 of 15 team points.

The third quarter saw back-to-back ties, but Pryor never gained the lead. Shawnee went was up as many as 14 points in the fourth quarter. Pryor cut the lead to seven, but that would be as close as the Tigerettes got. They ended the season with a 15-13 record.

6A

Muskogee girls lose in 6A semifinal

BY STAFF REPORTS

TULSA, Okla. – Midwest City ended the Muskogee girls basketball team’s bid for the Class 6A state championship by beating them 74-67 on March 11 at the Mabee Center.

It wasn’t an easy victory as it took a double overtime effort for the Bombers to secure their spot in the championship game. The Bombers led for most of the game but Muskogee fought back from nine-points behind in the fourth quarter. Muskogee’s Aaliyah Wilson tied the game at 60 with a 28-foot 3-pointer at the end of regulation to send the game to its first overtime. The Lady Roughers built a five-point lead in the first extra frame but let it slip away as the Bombers tied the game for a second overtime. Midwest City forged ahead in the second overtime to secure the win.

Muskogee advanced to the semifinal game by defeating Edmond Santa Fe 58-46 on March 10.
About the Authors
Mark Dreadfulwater has worked for the Cherokee Phoenix since 2006. He began as a graphic designer, a position that exposed him to all factions of the organization. Upon completing his journalism degree from Northeastern State University in 2009, he was promoted to media specialist, switching his main focus to videography and visual journalism while maintaining his design duties. In 2012, he was promoted to multimedia editor.

He is a member of Native American Journalists Association, Society of Professional Journalists and Society for News Design.
MARK-DREADFULWATER@cherokee.org • 918-453-5087
Mark Dreadfulwater has worked for the Cherokee Phoenix since 2006. He began as a graphic designer, a position that exposed him to all factions of the organization. Upon completing his journalism degree from Northeastern State University in 2009, he was promoted to media specialist, switching his main focus to videography and visual journalism while maintaining his design duties. In 2012, he was promoted to multimedia editor. He is a member of Native American Journalists Association, Society of Professional Journalists and Society for News Design.
STAFF-REPORTS@cherokee.org • 918-453-xxxx

People

BY STAFF REPORTS
05/24/2018 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – Four Cherokee Nation employees recently graduated from the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute held in Fort Worth, Texas. Career Services Executive Director Diane Kelley, Career Services Special Projects Officer Hunter Palmer, Commerce Entrepreneur Development Manager Stephen Highers and Jobs Business Development Coordinator Travis Gulley graduated on May 3. OU EDI is a 117-hour certificate program that provides advanced education for economic development professionals. “I’m excited that the Cherokee Nation now has four new graduates from the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute,” Kelley said. “This is a prestigious program, and the knowledge and training we received will improve many of the services we provide to tribal citizens and businesses.” OU EDI classes focus on business retention and expansion, real estate and credit analysis, as well as areas of concentration in marketing, strategic planning, entrepreneurship and managing economic development organizations. Students typically take one to two years to complete the program through a series of in-person seminars, workshops and discussion groups. “OU EDI is the premier organization dedicated to training economic development professionals,” Mary Ann Moon, dean, said. “These graduates represent some of the finest economic development practitioners in the U.S. working to support their local communities. My congratulations to them.” OU EDI began in 1962 and is celebrating its 56th year of service to the economic development community. Fully accredited by the International Economic Development Council, the program has trained more than 5,000 graduates and remains the world’s leading economic development teacher.
BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
Reporter – @cp_bbennett
05/22/2018 08:45 AM
KALGOORLIE, Western Australia – From Europe to Western Australia, Cherokee Nation citizen Jeylyn Sharpe is making a name for himself overseas as a professional basketball player. “I get to continue to play the sport I love, get paid for it and see the world,” Sharpe said. “If I didn’t take the opportunity then I would never get that chance again and probably regret not doing it.” The 6-foot-5-inch standout from Ketchum, Oklahoma, said he didn’t seriously consider playing professionally until after his senior season at Rogers State University, where he accumulated 1,125 career points and was named the 2017 Heartland Conference Player of the Year. Emails and Facebook messages from agents overseas wanting to represent him eventually led Sharpe to signing a professional contract in 2017 with BBC Grengewald Hueschtert of the Nationale 2 League in Niederanven, Luxembourg. With help from an RSU assistant coach, the transition from collegiate to professional play was seamless. “After my senior season in college, he put me through a lot of workouts to get me prepared,” Sharpe said. “The pace of play at the next level is faster. The shot clock time is shorter. You always hear ‘Europeans are very fundamental’ and you don’t really get an understanding of that until you play there. We were doing drills I use to do in elementary school. That’s how we would start our workouts and work our way up to the more difficult things.” Sharpe also gave a “special thank you” to the same coach for fostering a connection with Australia after his season in Europe ended. Listed as a guard and forward, Sharpe is one of three Americans playing for the Goldfields Giants, a professional club in the State Basketball League of Western Australia. “I am very fortunate to be at a place that feels like a big family, all the way from the owner down to the water boy,” he said. “The owner, GM (general manager) and coaches have all had us over at their house multiple times for dinner or just to relax and hang out. My teammates are great. I have never once questioned their effort on the court.” Though struggling in the win column, Sharpe said he’s confident in the team’s direction. “Our games have been a fight all the way to the end. Sadly the win and loss column doesn’t show that,” he said. “But we are a team that has stuck together the whole time and never pointed fingers at one another. By the end of this we hope to be a playoff team and keep playing into September, hopefully being a championship contender.” As for the style of play overseas, Sharpe said there are differences. “In college, we had a lot of set plays and quick hitter offenses to score, but out in Australia and Luxembourg we just have different type of motion offenses and they let us play out of it. They know we are good smart players and they expect us to make the correct decision.” Sharpe recorded one of his best games against the Mandurah Magic on May 12, accounting for 38 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and five steals as the team won 105-104. He is also the only Giant named to the 2018 SBL All-Star Games to be held June 4-5 in Mount Claremont. When asked what he brings to the team, Sharpe said his energy and basketball IQ. “In college I played a little bit of guard some times and a little bit of a post. I would also have to guard posts and guards in college, so I can do the same at this level. I try to be the guy that you can put anywhere on the court and you can have confidence that I will get the job you are asking done.” Sharpe’s dedication and leadership have not gone unnoticed by coaches and teammates, who voted him vice captain after arriving in February. “I was honored that they picked me as vice captain after only being there a few weeks. I think that they saw the knowledge and leadership I bring to the table. You don’t have to be a leader with just your voice. You can set the example by your actions, and I think the team saw me do that day in and day out.” Playing overseas has also allowed Sharpe to take the Cherokee culture to that part of the world. “It is cool to be able to tell them that I am Native American and that I am Cherokee,” he said. “I get to show them some pictures of my ancestors, and I know a little bit of Cherokee language, so I am able to show them what that sounds like. It’s great to get an opportunity to show other young Native Americans that goals are achievable if you work hard enough.” As for the future, Sharpe said he’s “going with the flow.” “I have been going with the flow lately, just letting this basketball take me around the world,” he said. “I would really like to play in China and Dubai before I am done playing. After this season I will be spending some quality time at home with family and friends. I really do enjoy it out here and can see myself coming back for another season.”
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/17/2018 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Nation citizen and employee Stephen Highers on May 3 graduated from the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute. “Having graduated from the OU EDI program, I can now set for the test to become a Certified Economic Developer through the International Economic Development Council,” CN Entrepreneur Development Manager Stephen Highers said. According to the IEDC website, it’s a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization serving economic developers. It also states that with more than 5,000 members, the IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. “Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base,” the site states. “From public to private, rural to urban and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience.” Highers, who also serves as a Tahlequah city councilor, said he was excited to bring back knowledge he gained at the OU EDI to Tahlequah. “Economic development is not easy, especially if you don’t understand the data and process by which to make informed, sound decision. Through my coursework and training at the OU EDI, I’m able to bring back to Tahlequah concrete ideas and solutions that will enhance our future growth in a healthy, competitive, and objective manner,” he said. Highers said the program is a two-year program, and he has plans to become certified in the winter of 2019. For more information, visit <a href="https://pacs.ou.edu/edi/about/" target="_blank">https://pacs.ou.edu/edi/about/</a>.
BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
05/17/2018 01:15 PM
TAHLEQUAH – Family, friends and community members gathered on May 11 at the Cherokee Casino Tahlequah grounds for a surprise ceremony for 9-year-old Cherokee Nation citizen Grant York. York suffers from several health conditions, including mitochondrial mutation. His mother, Kasie Mendenhall, said with mitochondrial mutation he is unable to absorb nutrients and hasn’t been able to eat solid food since he was 3 years old. In April, he was admitted to Physicians Choice Hospice. “The last two years have been hard on him. He has spent most of all of it in the hospital,” Mendenhall said. “Physicians Choice Hospice has allowed Grant to have his pain adequately controlled and for him to remain home and not in the hospital.” Caring for their patients is not the only thing PCH nurses do. They also grant wishes – Butterfly Wishes. York’s wish was to go to the “Dixie Stampede” in Branson, Missouri, and through the Butterfly Wishes program he and his family received an all-expense paid trip for him to fulfill that wish. However, before York and his family left for Branson, the nurses surprised him with a special ceremony that included York’s class at Keys Elementary School. This was the first time York met his classmates and teacher in person, Mendenhall said. The Tahlequah Police Department also joined the ceremony making York their first junior officer, and he even took the official TPD oath. He was also presented a certificate, T-shirt and badge. “Grant loves police and now he is a real police officer,” Mendenhall said. After a photo shoot for the family, the TPD gave York a police escort out of town. Once they reached Branson, the Branson police, fire department and Missouri Highway Patrol were waiting to escort him into town. Mendenhall said she was thankful for the community’s support her son and family received. “Seeing our entire community come together to support Grant and our family leaves me speechless. Without the support of the community things like this wouldn’t be possible,” she said.
BY ROGER GRAHAM
Multimedia Producer – @cp_rgraham
05/17/2018 08:15 AM
BROKEN ARROW – An old Vaudevillian joke goes something like this: “She shall now hang upside down while juggling pianos...on horseback.” Adding a horse to an impossible task makes the joke funnier and even more impossible. That is, unless you’re 10-year-old Cherokee Nation citizen Sophie Duch. Take away the pianos and that’s exactly what she does as a professional trick rider at rodeos. On May 11-12, Sophie and her trusted horse, Jesse, took their act to Broken Arrow for the 2018 Rooster Days Festival and Rodeo. Born and raised in Stilwell, Sophie’s love for western trick riding began when her parents took her to a rodeo in 2011 where the All-American Cowgirl Chicks trick riding team performed. “I knew we were in trouble the moment Sophie saw the Chicks perform. She was only 3 years old but latched onto the fence and watched their every move,” said her mother and CN citizen Shawna Duch. “After the rodeo, Sophie had to meet each one of them. I could tell even then she was hooked.” Sophie has received much help learning her craft during her young life, including from her first coach, CN-sponsored professional trick rider Haley Ganzel. “There’s a lot of people around here to help you,” Sophie said. “They’ll even loan you a horse if you need one.” This has never been a problem for Sophie. The other half of Sophie’s team, Jessie’s Girl, is a good-natured bay mare and has been with her since she fell in love with trick riding. “She (Jessie’s Girl) just kind of took to it,” Sophie’s father Troop Duch said. “She’s a natural show-off. She really shines once she gets in the arena.” Having a well-trained horse is key to the success and safety of the trick rider because many of the most difficult and dangerous tricks are performed with little or no control of the horse’s reins. Sweeping and precise ovals of the arena must be completed at the right speed to be successful. For safety’s sake, tricks are performed from the inside or left as the horse runs counter clockwise, thus keeping the horse between the acrobatic rider and the arena’s fence line. At the Rooster Days Rodeo, Sophie performed not only as entertainer, but she also carried the American flag into the arena for the national anthem. In her act Sophie performed three tricks and demonstrated twice during Jessie’s giant loop giving spectators on both sides of the arena a look. On the second night of the rodeo, Sophie performed her mounted shooting act, in which she shoots targets while on horseback. For more information, call 918-696-1648 or 918-696-1648 or email <a href="mailto: Shawnaduch@gmail.com">Shawnaduch@gmail.com</a>. ??
BY KENLEA HENSON
Reporter
05/14/2018 08:00 AM
PRESCOTT, Ariz. – With more than 30 years of experience in public service, Cherokee Nation citizen Dale Deiter was recently selected as forest supervisor of the Prescott National Forest. Growing up in Arizona, Deiter said he developed a love for public service from his father, who served as a district ranger in Arizona and New Mexico. In 1983, Dieter began his career in the U.S. Forest Service, first as a volunteer and then as a wild land firefighter for the Gila National Forest in New Mexico for three summers and one summer for the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Jackson, Wyoming. During that time he also attended Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, where he earned a bachelor’s degree and a later a master’s degree in forestry. After college, Deiter landed a job as a pre-sale forester and then a hydrologist for the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. The hydrologist job took him to the Fishlake National Forest in Richfield, Utah, where he spent more than seven years in that position dealing with watershed management and restoration. In 2007, he went back to Wyoming where he served as the district ranger for Bridger-Teton National Forest, a position he held prior to his promotion as forest supervisor with Prescott National Forest. With a long resume under his belt, Dieter said the best part of having a career in the Forest Service is “leaving a legacy for public lands.” “The (national) forests are a place where people can go to have fun, so knowing you’re part of making that happen is very rewarding,” he said. Deiter said during his time with the Forest Service he’s traveled extensively throughout the western United States, even into Quebec, Canada, fighting fires. He said it’s “neat” to be able to work in places where a lot of people go for vacation. “You get the opportunity to fly the national forest either in a helicopter or a plane or on horseback or by snowmobile into the back country or even hiking as well. You just get see a lot of unique lands in a lot of places that people don’t tread,” he said. In his new role as forest supervisor, his job is to help with the oversight of the management of PNF’s 1.25 million acres of public land located across north central Arizona. He said the biggest challenge for him is adapting to challenging conditions facing climate change. “Even in my career, fire season has gotten longer and fires have gotten bigger, and we are seeing its impact even in terms as snowpack and spring flow and that then presents a lot of challenges in long-term-sustaining management of national forests,” he said. Deiter said he’s happy to be in his new position with PNF and plans to finish out his career there. “I am planning to spend quite a bit of time there. There are a lot of challenges to deal with there, and it’s a really neat forest with great people, and so I will finish out my career there,” he said.