Cherokee Nation jurisdiction schools compete at state
3A BoysVerdigris Cardinals win state titleBY MARK DREADFULWATER
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
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
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 roundBY MARK DREADFULWATER
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 GirlsAdair girls lose to WashingtonBY MARK DREADFULWATER
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 roundBY MARK DREADFULWATER
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 lossBY 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 BoysFort Gibson boys fall in state title gameBY MARK DREADFULWATER
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 GirlsHilldale ends season in semifinal gameBY 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 BowBY 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. 5AClaremore falls to Woodward in OTBY 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 roundBY 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.6AMuskogee girls lose in 6A semifinalBY 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.