, Muskogee, OK


November 19, 2013

BOYS PREP BASKETBALL PREVIEW: Looking for more: Sequoyah hoping to go farther; Muskogee ready to step up

Last season, the Sequoyah Indians made their first state tournament appearance in four years.

With two of the top three scorers returning from last year’s squad, including the 2012-13 Phoenix Newcomer of the year, expectations are high for the Indians, earning them the top spot in the Phoenix boys’ Super 7.

Sequoyah finished 20-9 last season, advancing to the Class 3A semifinals. Caisen Green, a 6-feet 2-inch senior guard who averaged 13 points, four rebounds and three assists per game, will be the main scoring threat for the Indians. Joining Green from last year’s team is B.J. Leach, a 6-0 junior guard who poured in an average of 10.2 points per contest while pulling down 4.4 rebounds per game and was named the All-Phoenix Newcomer of the Year.

“Caisen has elevated his game,” Herrin said. “He’s worked on things I’ve asked him to do and he’s one of the very best athletes I’ve coached in any sport. B.J. had a good sophomore season, fighting through a lot of injuries. He’s going to be healthy and B.J. is as good a player as there is on both ends of the court.”

Besides Green and Leach, the Indians have a nucleus of players that saw playing time last season and that depth has Herrin, last year’s All-Phoenix Boys Coach of the Year, optimistic of making another deep postseason run.

Zack Parish (6-2, Jr., F) has earned the starting sport at power forward and was one of the main players off the bench for Herrin last year. Elijah Tucker (6-3), Sr., P) started a few games last season but will the main weapon inside for the Indians.

“Elijah was mostly a backup post last year,” Herrin said. “He’s a big body and scores around the basket pretty well. Zack really came on towards the end of last season and was one of the key reason’s we were able to beat Centennial in the area final, because he was able to handle the ball against their pressure.”

Nick Kingfisher (6-2, Sr., F) returns to basketball after sitting out last year while Quinton Johnson (5-10, Jr., G) will handle the point guard spot.

“Quinton backed up Niko Hammer last year and played in every game,” Herrin said. “He was our best free-throw shooter and one of our best 3-point shooters. Nick tried his hand at wrestling last year but I’m glad to have him back this year. He’s real good in transition and a long rebounder.”

Another school that is looking to return to the big stage is Muskogee, earning the No. 2 spot in the Super 7.

“I’ve learned the players a little more and they’ve learned what we’re expecting,” said second-year coach Josh Berry, the first second-year coach Muskogee's had since the 2010-11 season, Terry Scott's third and final season.

Under Berry, the Roughers finished 8-16, bowing out in the first round of the 6A regional, and return all but two members from last year’s team including the top three scorers in seniors Anthony King (6-1, Sr., 13.5 ppg), David Beasley (6-1, Sr., 13 ppg) and Tramal Ivy (6-5, Sr., 13 ppg), a member of the 2012-13 All-Phoenix team.

“Tramal averaged a double-double last year and Anthony almost averaged one,” Berry said. “Those two did the bulk of the rebounding. Beasley handled the ball the most and was probably better at breaking down the other team’s defense.”

The depth of the Roughers’ lineup features two players that could have a major impact in Cantrell Ashley and Lavare Reed.

“They played quite a bit this summer and have gotten a lot better,” Berry said. “Those two are probably going to be the surprise alone.”

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