A top-10 matchup was on tap. Class 3A No. 6 Spiro was primed to make a visit in Tahlequah and take on fifth-ranked Sequoyah.
The Indians — fresh off of disposing of Cherokee County rival Keys — were geared up to take on the Bulldogs.
“It was one of those games we circled on the schedule early on,” Sequoyah coach Jay Herrin said.
Then Mother Nature intervened.
Accumulating snow and treacherous driving conditions prevented Spiro from traveling north for the early-season showdown of 3A clubs. Nothing Sequoyah could do but be dejected.
“We were disappointed we didn’t get to play,” Herrin said. “We played them in the Oral Roberts team camp, and we knew it’d be a close game. And as of right now, we have no rescheduled date. But we’ll continue to work out a date, because I know we both want to play each other.”
And with the Jerry O’Quin Tournament set to take place this week in Inola, Sequoyah is just ready to play basketball — period. The Indians are slated to take on Fort Gibson today at 5:30 p.m., barring any tournament postponements — which were unknown by deadline time on Monday night (the Monday games in the tournament were moved to Wednesday before the tournament even started).
“There is never a good time for this,” Herrin said of the prolonged winter weather. “Kind of hard right now because we’re trying to get more things put in [the game plan]. We’re just trying to get more of a feel of playing with each other.”
Of course, that’s also been another unenviable task. Because of ice still on roadways, some of Sequoyah’s players have been unable to make it to practice while school has been out since Thursday.
“About half of my team has been making it in,” Herrin said. “Can’t really do anything new with only half of your team there. We’re just trying to review, stay in shape and get a lot of shots up.”
When Sequoyah (1-0) finally does start to play in the Inola tournament, it’ll take part in an event where it is the No. 5 seed, despite its ranking in Class 3A. That’s just how tough the field is, Herrin said.
“It’s a really tough tournament,” said Herrin, who also has 4A No. 8 Inola to contend with on his side of the bracket, while 3A No. 3 Verdigris and Siloam Springs — a perennial power in Arkansas — are on the bottom half of the bracket.
“We’ve had a lot of success there the last couple of years, and we’re going to have to play well just to win one or two games. There will be no gimmies in this one at all.
“There will be a good team that won’t win a game in the tournament.”