, Muskogee, OK


February 19, 2013

Scoping out the playoff landscape

Class 6A

BOYS — Muskogee’s best hope is the third time’s a charm. The Roughers (8-15) are 0-2 against Union (14-9) including Friday’s regular-season finale. The winner gets a likely matchup with regional host Stillwater (16-6).

GIRLS — The Lady Roughers (18-5) are home, where they haven’t lost since Jan. 4. However they enter regionals having lost three of their last four and are 3-2 against the field. The blowout tournament win against Moore should get them into next week — the question is whether they’ll climb up from the loser’s bracket. Broken Arrow and Sapulpa both split with the Lady Roughers in the regular season. Lose the regional final against either and they’ll have to win two at area, with a likely matchup against Union or Bixby, which just got word that post Stevi Parker has been cleared to return from an ankle injury. Win and they take a 20-win season into an area championship game against the Bixby-Union winner, one game from a repeat trip to state.

Class 5A

BOYS — Tahlequah (8-15) is the third seed of four, drawing No. 14 Chickasha and should they win there, they get host Coweta, a team that is 2-0 against them this season.

GIRLS — No. 7 Tahlequah (13-9) again hosts a regional and will need to beat Coweta a third time to move into next week and prior to that, the regional final against either No. 13 Guthrie or No. 18 Chickasha.

Class 4A

Area IV has Fort Gibson in the winner’s bracket and Hilldale, Checotah and Wagoner one loss away from elimination. The Tigers (20-3), ranked No. 6, would seem to have a smooth road through regionals as host with only Muldrow, at No. 19, ranked.  But the Tigers’ Thursday opponent, Stilwell, has a double-digit win over Sequoyah.The Tigers beat Muldrow 63-58 in the Old Fort Classic finals. Winning area will be a bigger hurdle as No. 1 Roland at 23-1 and winner of the Tournament of Champions back in December looms from the other side of the bracket.  Of the area one-loss teams, athletic Checotah (13-11)  is the most likely to win three games this weekend to remain alive, starting with Byng on Thursday. Hilldale (5-18) and Wagoner (9-15) have struggled all season.

GIRLS — The No. 2 FGHS girls (23-0) have No. 6 Byng and No. 7 Roland on the opposite side of the bracket but like their male counterparts, have a regional that appears to be easily managed. They beat Muldrow, a regional finals possibility, in the Old Fort Classic finals when they weren’t as on top of their game as they are now.  The Lady Tigers’ best win was against 3A No. 4 Verdigris.  Roland swept Muldrow and Byng has won 14 of its last 15. Look for Hilldale (16-8), which stumbled against Inola in districts, to offer the best challenge among one-loss area teams — Wagoner (3-21) and Checotah (3-17) are the others.

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