Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

November 23, 2013

SEQUOYAH BASKETBALL PREVIEWS: Indians look to build off last season’s success

Callison takes over talented Sequoyah girls squad

bjohnson@tahlequahdailypress.com

When faced with a brutal stretch of games in the playoffs, Sequoyah came up big during the 2012-2013 season. The Indians knocked off the likes of Beggs, Henryetta and two-time defending state champion Oklahoma Centennial to reach the state tournament.

Then, for good measure, the Indians beat Sperry to reach the state semifinals, where Sequoyah met its match against Okemah.

Still, though, the Indians polished off a 20-9 record and its first trip to the state tournament since 2010. So, no pressure to repeat those kind of results this year, right?

Wrong.

“There always is pressure at Sequoyah to get to state,” Sequoyah coach Jay Herrin said. “Our team understands that and that is how we want it. We don’t ever want to shy away from high expectations and this group understands what will be necessary to achieve that goal.”

With a large contingent of last year’s team returning for the 2013-2014 slate, the Indians should be in good shape to end up in the state tournament again. But, not so fast, Herrin said.

“Last year’s success doesn’t guarantee us anything this season,” he said, “and having to replace some really good players like Ryan Helsley, TJ Jones, Niko Hammer, and Trinton Herron will be a very challenging task.”

That will challenge No. 1 for players such as Caisen Green, B.J. Leach, Zach Parish, Elijah Tucker, Quinton Johnston and Wyatt McClure. Than sprinkle in some new contributors and the Indians should be well-equipped to deploy its up-tempo game plan again this season.

“I have been pleased with how Caisen has improved his overall game and has become a more complete player. He is a very explosive athlete who can be the best player on the court most nights. He has the ability to play at the next level,” Herrin said. “Elijah Tucker should be our starting post and is a big body who rebounds really well. Quinton Johnston...worked hard this preseason and has improved his game. Zach Parish will play several different positions and has a good all around game. Seniors Nick Kingfisher and Wyatt McClure both will play a lot and possibly start at forward and point guard.”

Herrin’s biggest challenge early on will be transitioning his football players into basketball shape.

“We open up a little earlier than past seasons,” Herrin said, “so we have to get our football players ready real quick.”

Sequoyah’s season will begin Nov. 30 at Riverside.

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