Tahlequah Daily Press

January 14, 2014

Shrine shine

Sequoyah keeps winning streak going with Shrine Classic crown

By BEN JOHNSON
Sports Editor

— bjohnson@tahlequahdailypress.com



Five wins, one loss and a top-five ranking in Class 3A. Not bad for Sequoyah’s abbreviated slate during the 2013 portion of its basketball season.

And that was just the Lady Indians’ feeling-out process. Now they’re all getting on the same page.

Not great news for the rest of 3A. Just ask the field at the 2014 Bedouin Shrine Classic, which Sequoyah won easily by capping off the tournament with a rout of Spiro in the Small School championship game on Saturday night.

“I think we’re getting on the same page,” Sequoyah coach Larry Callison said. “It took us awhile to understand that. It also took me a while to adjust.”

During Sequoyah’s first six games, the Lady Indians blew out all their opponents — Riverside, Keys, Pryor, Catoosa and McAlester — in all five wins. However, the one loss was to Inola in the first round of the Jerry O’Quin Tournament, preventing the Lady Indians from playing for the tournament title.

Such was not the case in Muskogee last week. The Lady Indians demolished Cookson Hills and Haskell before trampling Spiro for the crown at the Civic Center.

“I wasn’t sure how we’d do on the big stage,” Callison said. “But the girls stepped up and did some good things.”

Sequoyah is now four games into the 2014 section of its schedule, but already Callison can see his team figuring things out.

“We are a much better team now than we were before Christmas break,” said Callison, who came out of retirement to coach at Sequoyah.

Up next for Sequoyah is a home game against Henryetta on Friday before taking on Jay at the BOK Center in Tulsa on Saturday. Those, games at the Jay tournament and games against Keys and Cascia Hall will round out Sequoyah’s January schedule, which will ultimately determine the Lady Indians’ playoff fate.

“We really need to stay in the top five, or top eight, for sure,” said Callison, whose team moved up to No. 4 in 3A on Monday. “We need to stay there to get a good draw (in the playoffs) and stay away from Adair.”

But Callison also wants his club to enjoy the grueling month of games coming up.

“I’m a little different than some coaches,” he said. “An example, this week, we spent one hour on shooting stuff, but we let them enjoy it. I don’t want us to be peaking too early. It’s just kind of my philosophy.

“All I’m worried about is them playing hard. That’s it.”