Tahlequah Daily Press

February 21, 2013

Class 5A basketball playoff preview

By BEN JOHNSON
Sports Editor

— Class 5A boys

East (area sites TBA)

• The favorite: Memorial. If history holds up, the Chargers are in line to win another state title this season. After all, Memorial won championships in 2003 and 2008. The No. 2 Chargers are well-tested this season with 15 games against ranked teams.

• Other contenders: Edison, Coweta, Bishop Kelley. Edison dropped down to 5A this year and continues to roll right along. Coweta dominated in Metro Lakes Conference play while Bishop Kelley stumbled a bit down the stretch. Still, though, all three seem to be solid bets for the state tournament.

• Potential games to watch

Pryor vs. Skiatook (regional semifinals at Memorial); East Central vs. Edison (regional finals at Edison); Coweta vs. Edison (area finals at TBA).

• State bound: Memorial and Edison (area champs); Coweta and Bishop Kelley (area runners-up).



West (area sites TBA)

• The favorite: Bishop McGuinness. The Fighting Irish won last year's title and appear poised to do so again this season. McGuinness has lost three times this season but only once to a team from Oklahoma (Stillwater, 48-47, on Feb. 1).

• Other contenders: Southeast, Carl Albert, MacArthur, Piedmont. Southeast has made a stead climb up the 5A coaches' poll all season, starting at No. 16 before sitting at No. 3 right now. Among the other three, the advantage goes to No. 4 Carl Albert which has wins over MacArthur and Piedmont this season.

• Potential games to watch

Carl Albert vs. Del City (regional finals at Carl Albert); Southeast vs. Capitol Hill (regional finals at Southeast); Carl Albert vs. Southeast (area finals at TBA).

• State bound: Bishop McGuinness and Carl Albert (area champs); Southeast and MacArthur (area runners-up).



Class 5A girls

East (area sites TBA)

• The favorite: East Central. The Cardinals lost standout guard, Bria Pitts, to another season-ending knee injury, but East Central still appears to be the team to beat out of the east side of the state.

• Other contenders: Edison, Tahlequah, Collinsville, Grove. Featuring only one senior on the roster, Edison is a young team making a run at the state tournament. Tahlequah's run-and-gun attack has been working well lately, and Collinsville always has a chance to win if Shelbie Kirby is playing well.

• Potential games to watch

Memorial vs. Claremore (regional semifinals at Edison); Grove vs. East Central (regional finals at East Central); Bishop Kelley vs. Collinvsille (regional finals at Bishop Kelley).

• State bound: East Central and Edison (area champs); Tahlequah and Collinsville (area runners-up).



West (area sites TBA)

• The favorite: Shawnee. The reigning 5A champion hasn't missed a beat this year. The Wolves' only loss prior to being beat by Chickasha last week was a low-scoring affair against 6A No. 5 Bixby in early December.

• Other contenders: Deer Creek, Carl Albert, Piedmont. There's certainly a hierarchy when it comes to the west side of the state. Including Shawnee, these three clubs make up the top four in 5A.

• Potential games to watch

Piedmont vs. MacArthur (regional finals at Piedmont); Carl Albert vs. Deer Creak (area finals at TBA).

• State bound: Shawnee and Deer Creek (area champs); Piedmond and Carl Albert (area runners-up).