Lady Tigers open with Sand Springs
The Tahlequah girls will kick off the tournament Thursday at 1 p.m. against Sand Springs — a mystery team to Tahlequah coach Chad Walker.
“All I know about (Sand Springs) is Bishop Kelley beat them by five,” Walker said. “Don’t know anything about them.
“According to a couple of coaches that I’ve talked to, they have a couple of guards who aren’t real good. The do have a good post girl who can score and grab rebounds.”
The Tahlequah-Sand Springs winner will advance to take on the winner of Moore-Muskogee JV, which is the first game of the tournament on Thursday at 10 a.m. The other side of the bracket features Muskogee-Oklahoma City Southeast (7 p.m. Thursday) and Rogers Heritage (Ark.)-Yukon (4 p.m. Thursday).
“It’s going to be a good tournament,” Walker said. “It’s an athletically-packed tournament.”
Muskogee and Tahlequah are the only two ranked teams, but with a field packed with 6A schools, Walker knows the competition will still be stout.
“You can get plenty of tough games against 5A competition,” he said, “but our philosophy has been, ‘the harder, the better.’ We want our girls to understand what it takes to win against the best teams; we don’t want our girls taking it lightly.”
Much like its opener against Skiatook, Tahlequah will be without Desiree Phipps, who Walker said should return next week against Bishop Kelley after enduring a severe illness prior to the beginning of the season. The Lady Tigers, though, will have Jhonett Cookson, who had 16 points and 12 rebounds against Skiatook in the opener, despite also not feeling well herself.
“If she’s going to play like that under the weather,” Walker said of Cookson, “I want her under the weather every game.”