Tahlequah’s two-year run of hosting Class 5A regional tournaments is over.
In a big way.
After hosting regional tournaments in girls basketball in 2012 and 2013, Tahlequah will head west for the Class 5A playoffs this season. The Lady Tigers will venture to Edmond to play in the Deer Creek regional.
Just outside of Oklahoma City, 16th-ranked Tahlequah will take on Del City in the first round.
“It’s a tough first round matchup,” Tahlequah coach Johnny Dyson said. “I’m not really sure how they ended up (as the No. 10 seed on the east side of the state.”
At 7-11 overall Del City, is the 10th-ranked team out of 16 teams on the east side of the state. Tahlequah (8-11) is the No. 7 seed.
“Their record is deceiving,” Dyson said of Del City, which has posted five of its seven victories against 6A opponents. “They’ve played a tough 6A schedule.”
When Tahlequah enters the playoffs, it’ll be going after a second straight regional championship. The Lady Tigers beat Chickasha in the regional finals in 2013, which gave way to an area championship and a state tournament berth.
The task of winning another regional tournament could be daunting, though. The winner of the Tahlequah-Del City game will likely draw third-ranked Deer Creek — the reigning state champion — in regional finals. Deer Creek will open regional play with a matchup against Durant (2-12).
Dyson said his team will venture to central Oklahoma ready to play, though.
“We’ll be prepared for (Del City),” Dyson said, “and we’re expecting a close game.”
The Tahlequah boys weren’t as fortunate in their regional draw. The Tigers ended up as the No. 15 seed on the east side of the state and will take on No. 2 seed Deer Creek — ranked seventh in 5A — in the first round. The Tahlequah-Deer Creek winner will take on either Pryor or Northwest Classen in the regional finals.
Tahlequah coach Pat Dotson was unavailable for comment on the playoffs pairings on Thursday.