Tahlequah Daily Press


November 23, 2013

TAHLEQUAH BASKETBALL PREVIEWS: Dyson set for 1st season with Lady Tigers

Key core back for Tigers this season


Tahlequah lived a charmed life during the 2012-2013 season. The Lady Tigers cleared nearly every hurdle in front of them until Carl Albert proved to be too much in the quarterfinals of the state tournament.

First, there was Desiree Phipps, who went down early in the season with a foot/ankle injury. Second, there was Jhonette Cookson’s abrupt dismissal in January. Finally — as if the first two weren’t enough — leading scorer Randee O’Donnell went down with a lower leg injury in the first round of the playoffs, and she missed the rest of the season.

No sweat. Tahlequah turned to the likes of Marisa Girdner, Whitney Wright and Casey Beaston to pick up a state tournament berth.

But all that is in the past now, and first-year coach Johnny Dyson knows his team this season will have its own collection of hardships to overcome.

“Each season is different and there will be a different set of obstacles for us to overcome this season,” said Dyson, who took over for Chad Walker. “Last year ended well. The road to state lined up well, and we did what we needed to do to reach the tournament.”

Dyson will attempt to get Tahlequah back to the state tournament, but he’ll do so without Beaston, Paige Carnes and three-point specialists, Maegan Blevins and Alissa Hadley. He will, however, still have the services of Girdner and Wright during their senior seasons.

“Contributors this season will be our senior duo of Girdner and Wright,” Dyson said. “Sophomore Lindsay Wade will also be a major contributor at the guard position. Then we’ll be looking at Reagan Clark to contribute from the post position.”

The biggest void to fill will be the one left by Beaston on the inside. That means rebounding and defending near the rim will fall squarely in the laps of some fresh faces in 2013-2014.

“As far as rebounding and inside scoring goes, it’ll have to be a group effort,” Dyson said. “Whitney Wright, Reagan Clark, Gillian Tinnin and Cailey Cunningham will all have to step in and provide these things.”

As for expectations following a 17-10 campaign last season, Dyson he’s going to set forth a basic guideline: just keep improving.

“My expectations are simple, we just want to get better as the season progresses,” he said. “If we can that then come February we should have set ourselves up to make a run again. I expect there to be possible bumps in the road during the first part of the season as a transition period, but I fully expect us to position ourselves properly for a playoff run.”

Text Only
  • McMillan-blackboard.jpg Hometown brothers team up for RiverHawks football

    Northeastern State’s football program will include a pair of hometown brothers for the 2014 season.
    Mason McMillan returns for his sophomore season, and this year he will be reunited with his younger brother, Kourtland. The brothers graduated from Tahlequah High School – Mason in 2013, followed by Kourtland in 2014. At Tahlequah, Mason and Kourtland shared the gridiron for one season.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Yurcich ready for second season

    With the 2014 season on the brink, Mike Yurcich, Oklahoma State University football offensive coordinator, is ready for his second year at the helm after coaching a powerful offensive squad a year ago.

    July 28, 2014

  • James_Ethan-(12)-vs.#2CC63C.jpg Back on the line

    RiverHawks’ Ethan James returns to the line healthy and ready for 2014

    RiverHawks offensive lineman Ethan James will enter the 2014 season healthy – something the team, and James, were not in 2013.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Sooners shifting several positions

    Experience comes from encountering the same things in the same ways over and over again. Oklahoma’s Geneo Grissom and Julian Wilson have that at defensive end and nickleback in bunches.
    However, both will be seeing new things when practice begins. Grissom is moving to outside linebacker. Wilson will be getting a look at cornerback as his senior season begins

    July 25, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • BobBowlsby.jpg Media Week: Change is coming

    Changes are coming to college athletics.
    That was the theme of the state of the conference speech by Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby on the first day of Big 12 Football Media Days.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peterson.jpg Cowboy quandary: OSU defense trying to replace seven starters

    A year after the best defensive team in the Mike Gundy era, the questions now surround how those few returning starters and second-year defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer can maintain that high level of efficiency.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Really one true champion?

    I decided to spare the colleagues in front of me – and myself from making a scene – by holding back flipping my table at the Big 12 Conference Football Media Days in Dallas.
    I had become exhausted by the constant use and misrepresentation by the Big 12 with their moniker of “One True Champion.” If they are going to live with the slogan, then they need to abide by that slogan.
    Perhaps its a simple case that they are keeping constant with the poor math of the 10-team Big 12 Conference.

    July 23, 2014

  • Hill expected to be used in multiple facets

    The picture became a little clearer recently of how Big 12 Conference Newcomer of the Year Tyreek Hill will be utilized in the Oklahoma State offense.
    And the picture is rather wide.

    July 23, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo


Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
     View Results
Press Sports Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow