Tahlequah received a game-high 12 points from forward Hayden Smith and defeated Lorena (Texas), 59-33, Monday in its season opener in Lorena, Texas.

The Tigers, who are in year two under head coach Marcus Klingsick, took control early by jumping out to a 12-2 and never trailed.

"I think it was good for us to get out and get a win in our first game," Klingsick said. "We made some mistakes that we can work on and correct, but it was a good win to get."

Smith sparked Tahlequah in the first quarter where he scored six of his points. The junior, who averaged a team-best 15.9 points last season, had 10 of his points in the first half.

Klingsick was most pleased with the play of his bench, which contributed with 33 points and was led by Zeke Guerrero's eight points. Guerrero knocked down two of Tahlequah's four 3-pointers, Donovan Smith added six points off the bench, and Brycen Smith followed with five.

"Some of our starters got in foul trouble, so I thought our bench really came in and played really well," Klingsick said. "You kind of worry when you're bringing the next group in, but I thought they did an outstanding job, and we built a pretty good lead."

Tahlequah took a 33-17 lead into halftime and led 48-25 after three quarters.

Junior Cale Matlock followed Hayden Smith with nine points, and Jaxon Stickels, Luis Santana and Cade Mashburn closed with four points. Senior point guard Tyler Joice, Shaun Young and Cade Matthews each had two points.

The Leopards (1-2) were paced by Carter Pitts and Keegan Rowell with nine points apiece.

The Tigers will play again Friday when they take on Little Axe Friday at the Paycom Center in Oklahoma City.

"We needed tonight to be a good first game under our belt and we did a good job," Klingsick said.

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