MUSKOGEE LADY ROUGHERS
Coach: Doyle Rowland
Best of the best: Aaliyah Wilson (18.6 ppg. 8.9 rpg, 3 apg), Jada Ford (17.7 ppg), Lanice Rozell (9 ppg, 6.5 rpg).
Others: Trena Mims, Aerious King, Omaryana Lee, Danazia Brown, Leigh Westbrook, Zomaree McNac, Kiara Davis, Kanisha Smith, Taryn Milton, Brandi Nash, Jaylynn Evans, Makayla McCall.
Against the field: Lost to Broken Arrow 67-65 and 65-55; swept Sapulpa 60-58 and 43-36.
Thursday’s Games (at Skiatook)
Game 1 – Broken Arrow vs. Norman North, 7 p.m.
Game 2 – Choctaw vs. Sapulpa, 8:30 p.m.
Game 3 – Muskogee vs. Midwest City, 2 p.m.
Game 4 – Edmond Santa Fe vs. Putnam City North, 3:30 p.m.
Friday’s Games (at Mabee Center, ORU)
Game 5 – Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 1:30 p.m.
Game 6 – Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 10:30 a.m.
Saturday’s Game (at Mabee Center, ORU)
Game 7 – Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6, noon
For openers: Muskogee’s last trip ended with a 50-34 loss to Midwest City in the 2012 6A quarterfinals, the same school they face on their return. A 12-0 second-quarter run proved fatal as Tulsa signee Ashley Clark had 16 points for the Lady Bombers. They have four starters back from a 13-win season and are led by Jausean Beard, a 5-11 senior guard. MWC is No. 4, Muskogee is No. 8.
Bracket size-up: No. 1 Broken Arrow at 25-0 is a clear top seed and the deserving favorite but No. 2 Edmond Santa Fe was No. 1 in the rankings until losing 42-35 in the Skiatook Tournament finals in January and will challenge. Choctaw (21-5) is No. 5, Norman North (18-6) is No. 7 but had to go through the consolation round. Still the Timberwolves won the Tournament of Champions in December. No. 13 Sapulpa and No. 11 Putnam City North are sleepers with tough opening assignments.
FORT GIBSON LADY TIGERS
Coach: Jerry Walker
Best of the best: Savannah Gray (8 ppg, 5 apg, 6 rpg) Jayme Hill (11 ppg), Desiree Phipps (11 ppg), Allie Glover (10 ppg),
Others: Susie Kilpatrick, Cheyanne Johnson, Aaliyah Dailey-Lee, Grace Parker, Sage Stout, Kabree Edgmon, Taylor Osborn, Isabelle Hubbert, Madison Spyres, Jayme Hayes.
(All Games at State Fair Arena, OKC))
Game 1 – Weatherford vs. Vinita, 7 p.m.
Game 2 – Fort Gibson vs. Elgin, 3:30 p.m.
Game 3 – Ada vs. Anadarko, 2 p.m.
Game 4 – Mt. Saint Mary vs. Harrah, 8:30 p.m.
Game 5 – Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 10:30 a.m.
Game 6 – Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 1:30 p.m.
Game 7 – Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6, 10:30 a.m.
Against the field: Beat Vinita 58-51, lost to Ada 33-30 in the area finals.
For openers: Maybe losing in the area final works for Fort Gibson. It sparked an impressive three-game run to their second title in three seasons.
But the Lady Tigers have had their issues in the postseason, including a struggle at home in regionals against Sallisaw, a team they beat by 34 late in the regular season only to win by six after trailing by double digits.
“First and foremost, we’ve got to shoot the ball better,” Walker said. “We’re at the part of the season now where you just go out and play. The pressure’s off, you’re at the state tournament. Everybody’s going to play hard there and the team can relax and play their game is the team that will win.”
The loss dropped Fort Gibson out of a top seed to the top-seeded team among the four onsolation champions. In Elgin, they get a former Muskogee girl in 6-foot-3 junior forward Jentry Holt, who averages in double figures in both scoring and rebounding and will bring the ball downcourt for the Owls.
Bracket size-up: Even as an area-runner-up, Fort Gibson gets the lowest ranked team based on the final rankings at the outset of the playoffs. Which, by the way, pretty much nailed the field. No. 2 and top seed Weatherford, No. 3 Anadarko, No. 4 Harrah, No. 5 Ada, No. 6 Mt. St. Mary’s and No. 7 Vinita are all in it. No. 8 Plainview is not. Anadarko stands as the team that has kept FGHS from winning three straight titles, capturing the 2012 championship. Mt. St. Mary’s was last year’s runner-up.
“It’s a bracket loaded in tradition, teams that are used to being here,” Walker said. “It’s anyone’s to win.”