Tahlequah Daily Press

June 18, 2013

Turning the page

Area basketball players participate in the Indian All-State games before moving on to the next phase of their lives.

By LENZY KREHBIEL-BURTON
Special Writer

— BARTLESVILLE — Courtney Jones is not done playing basketball just yet.

The recent Sequoyah graduate came off of the bench to score five points and record one rebound and one steal for the North team in Saturday’s Indian All-State basketball game at Oklahoma Wesleyan University. With five of the 12 players on its roster signed on to play college basketball, the North held on to defeat the South, 72-68.

“It’s truly a blessing to play in the Indian All-State game,” Jones said. “Not only do I get to represent my school, but I get to represent my tribe as well.”

After leading the Lady Indians back to the state tournament this spring for the first time since her freshman year, Jones is playing with an AAU team this summer, then will head north to play for Crowder College in Neosho, Mo.

“Although summer workouts have begun, it’s really starting to hit me that it is a reality: I’m going to play college ball,” she said. “I’m ready for the next level. It’s time for something new and I’m excited to see what my future has in store for me.”

Along with Jones, recent Hulbert graduate Craig Potts was also selected to play in Saturday’s Indian All-State game.

Despite averaging 18 points and eight rebounds during his senior season, the Cherokee Nation citizen is trading in his sneakers for textbooks. In his last game, Potts started for the North squad, scoring two points and recording three rebounds. Despite 27 points from recent Ketchum graduate and Rogers State University signee Jeylyn Sharpe, the North dropped a 96-86 decision to the South.

“I’m just going to go to school this fall,” Potts said. “I don’t plan on playing anywhere.”

Organized by Paradox Consulting as a way to reward and showcase some of the state’s Native youth, the 18th Annual Oklahoma Indian All-State basketball games featured student-athletes from 11 tribes, including 14 from the Cherokee Nation alone.

Coaches nominated potential participants, who were then ranked by a panel of coaches across Oklahoma based on their basketball accomplishments, their potential to contribute to a balanced team, academic performance and extracurricular activities. More than 150 seniors’ names were submitted this year.

Selected students were divided into north and south teams with 12 players on each roster, using Interstate 40 as a rough boundary.  An additional 48 students were named to the second team.

Former Sequoyah standout Ryan Helsley, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and a Northeastern State University baseball signee, was also named to the Indian All-State first team but did not play Saturday night. Recent Hulbert graduate Lindsey Krueger, who is Cherokee, Delaware, Osage and Shawnee, was named to the girls’ second team.