MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

January 24, 2014

Tourney title string ends for No. 4 Lady Roughers

Maybe it was the overconfidence of tournament invincibility, or maybe it was Lawton Ike’s Crystal Polk.

Count both for Class 6A No. 4 Muskogee, a 48-35 opening-round victim against 16th-ranked Lawton Eisenhower at the John Nobles Invitational in Moore.  

Gone is a six-game win streak and a streak of six consecutive regular season tournament titles, including a bid for a third straight title here. But for a group that’s only put together two of those, it may well have been a soft mental approach first and foremost that led to this.

“I could see it in warmups that we weren’t as intense as we needed to be,” Muskogee coach Doyle Rowland said. “When the intensity isn’t there, our defense isn’t going to be where it needs to be.”

And that defense fell victim to Crystal Polk. The 6-foot-3 senior had 28 points and 14 rebounds, an overwhelming one-on-one matchup against sophomore Lanice Rozell, the Lady Roughers’ main inside player. Rozell finished with 10 points.

“We couldn’t stop their big girl inside,” Rowland said. “But that wasn’t all of it. It’s a different kind of basketball on the west side, a little more phyiscal and the game is called inconsistent at times but none of that’s an excuse. We just didn’t have our A game at all. Maybe we thought this was something we just walk out and do. Hopefully it’s a wake-up call for us.”

Aaliyah Wilson had 15 points for MHS (10-2), which takes on Ponca City in the consolation bracket at 10 a.m. today.

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