7. Fort Gibson
The Tigers came within an eyelash of making the state tournament, falling in the Class 4A Area IV consolation finals to Muldrow.
Finishing at 24-5 with a senior-heavy lineup in 2012-13, Fort Gibson features one returner from that squad in junior Jordan London, a 6-0 guard that averaged 16.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, earning him a spot on the All-Phoenix team.
While the Tigers are inexperienced, coach Gary Hendrix believes his team will improve as the season progresses. Hendrix will rely on newcomers Stephen Edwards (6-6, Sr., C), Rayne Cox (6-0, Sr., F), Dakota Lashley (6-3, Sr., F), Coleman Crawley (6-0, Jr., G) and Chris Simpson (6-0, Jr.. G) to get the Tigers through the early part of the schedule.
OKTAHA – The Tigers finished 23-6 last season and returns top scorer Dustin Leach, a 6-2 senior guard that averaged 14.8 points per game in landing a spot on the All-Phoenix team. While the team lacks experience, the depth could be a benefit as the tigers move up to Class 3A.
BRAGGS – The Wildcats have a young but veteran squad that finished 10-15 on the year, bowing out to Bluejacket in the Class B districts. Three of the Wildcats’ top four scorers from last year return and have Braggs ready to make an impact.
Players to watch
PAYTON YORK (5-10, Jr., G), Braggs – The Wildcats’ leading scorer averaged 21.7 points per game as a sophomore and that number could get higher as a more experienced team surrounds him.
Ya’Aquoob KinG (6-5, Sr., C), Wagoner – His presence is going to be felt in the middle as he averaged 9.2 rebounds and 4.4 blocks per game in 2012-13, the latter leading the state.