The Tahlequah basketball teams are less than a month away from tipping off their 2020-21 seasons.
The Tigers and Lady Tigers, who both advanced to the Class 5A State Tournament last season, will open with Metro Lakes Conference games against Skiatook and Grove. They begin with Skiatook on the road on Tuesday, Dec. 1. The home openers at the Tahlequah Multipurpose Activity Center will be Friday, Dec. 4 against Grove.
Tahlequah will host the Cherokee Businesses Tahlequah Invitational from Dec. 10-12 in the first of three in-season tournaments. The Lady Tigers will be at the Tournament of Champions in Tulsa from Dec. 28-30. The Tigers will be at the Skiatook Tournament from Jan. 8-10, and both teams will be at the Port City Classic in Catoosa from Jan. 21-23.
The only other games outside of tournament games before the end of the year are home contests against Pryor on Dec. 15.
Tahlequah will be at Coweta on Jan. 5 to begin the 2021 portion of the schedule. The Tigers and Lady Tigers will then be at home for three games against Collinsville (Jan. 12), Claremore (Jan. 15) and Glenpool (Jan. 19).
Following the Port City Classic, they will host Skiatook on Jan. 26. They will be at Grove on Jan. 29, host Coweta on Feb. 5, and close the regular season with four consecutive road dates against Collinsville (Feb. 9), Claremore (Feb. 12), Glenpool (Feb. 16) and Pryor (Feb. 19).
The Lady Tigers are coming off a 19-7 season under head coach David Qualls and reached the state tournament for the third time in four years. They return starting guards Kacey Fishinghawk and Lydia McAlvain, forward Faith Springwater and bring in transfer Tatum Havens, who was a two-year starter at Ada.
The Tigers will be under the guidance of first-year head coach Marus Klingsick, who replaces Duane Jones. Tahlequah went 18-9 last year and returns experience with guards Tyler Joice, Qua’shon Leathers and forwards Hayden Wagers and Hayden Smith.