Larry Callison has a calm, cool and collected group of girls. And he certainly knows it.
Those characteristics were quite evident when his team outlasted Class 3A No. 10 Vian, 58-53, in the Area IV consolation game on Saturday night in Checotah.
“I’ve been a lot of places where the kids just went nuts when they qualified (for the state tournament),” said Callison, who is in his first season as Sequoyah’s coach. “But we showed about as much emotion as we probably can. They don’t really show a lot of emotion, but they were excited, of course, in their own way.”
Cenia Hayes led Sequoyah with 24 points in the overtime victory over Vian. Now the fifth-ranked Lady Indians will head to the 3A state tournament, where they’ll take on No. 9 Heritage Hall (19-5) in the quarterfinals in a 7 p.m. contest at Southern Nazarene University’s Sawyer Center.
Callison admitted to not watching any video evidence of Heritage Hall as of Monday afternoon. But Callison’s son, Grant, had already formulated a game plan for his dad.
“He’s broken it down and he said, ‘dad, they’re good,’” Larry Callison said. “I’ve heard all the stories about how they have two Division I players. And I asked him, ‘how good is good?’ And he said, ‘well, I think they’re better than Verdigris.’”
That’s not news Larry Callison wanted to hear, especially after his club lost a 53-40 contest against No. 4 Verdigris in the area finals on Friday night.
“That didn’t sound too good,” said Callison, whose team enters the state tournament at 25-2.
Speaking of records, Callison broke down Heritage Hall’s 19-5 mark.
“Their record is not quite as good, but I look at who had beaten them and they were good teams,” Callison said of Heritage Hall, whose losses this season have come against 4A No. 2 Weatherford (twice), 4A No. 5 Mount Saint Mary, 5A No. 7 Piedmont and Holland Hall. “Most of those teams are in the state tournament, and some of them in 4A, so we’ll have to play extremely well.”
In the semifinals, the Sequoyah-Heritage Hall winner will take on the winner between No. 1 Adair and eighth-ranked Hugo. No. 2 Alva, No. 3 Washington, No. 4 Verdigris and 11th-ranked Spiro round out the rest of the field on the opposite side of the bracket.