Phoenix staff reports
WILBURTON – The dream of making back-to-back state tournament appearances took another step forward for the Sequoyah Indians on Saturday.
Resorting to a style of play from the past, the Indians, 22-3 and No. 5 in Class 3A, captured the Area IV regional championship by rolling past Antlers 70-28.
“We came out and pressed them hard,” said Sequoyah coach Jay Herrin. “We didn’t think they could play at our speed.”
The Indians wanted to take control of the contest from the outset and that they did, scoring the first 15 points of the game. By the time the first quarter was over, Sequoyah had built a 27-7 advantage and ended any doubt of the outcome by holding Antlers (13-13) to one free throw in the second quarter for a 39-8 lead at intermission.
Three Indians finished in double figures led by Zach Parish with 12 points. Caisen Green and B.J. Leach rounded out the trio with 10 points each.
Sequoyah is now one win away for a return trip to state. The Indians face No. 4 Wilburton at 8 p.m. Friday with the winner headed to the state tournament.
“Verdigris is very good,” Herrin said. “We need to play hard to get past them.”
No. 5 Sequoyah stormed to a 54-28 lead and punched a ticket to Friday’s Class 3A Area IV final at Checotah, where the Lady Indians will face Verdigris.
It was 22-10 after a quarter and they expanded a 37-21 halftime lead with a 17-7 third-quarter run.
Four Lady Indians finished in double figures: Jhonett Cookson had 15, Cenia Hays 11, Feather Pacheco 10 and Loren Young 10.
A win on Friday will clinch a second consecutive state berth for Sequoyah under first-year coach Larry Callison.
“We played one of our better games, especially for three quarters. I thought we played with a lot of intensity and came to play on both sides of the ball,” Callison said. “Cookson I thought played really well for us on the inside.”