OKLAHOMA CITY – Sequoyah coach Larry Callison didn’t hesitate with his response when a reporter asked him to compare Saturday’s state finals win to his team’s previous one in 2015.
“It wasn’t as gut-wrenching, but they’re all special,” he said.
There wasn’t much concern on the mind of Callison as he watched his Lady Indians easily dispatch then-unbeaten Comanche in the 3A state championship at Jim Norick Arena. It was a 25-0 run that started in the second quarter and ended midway through the third that ballooned Sequoyah’s lead to 26 points, and from that point, the Lady Indians refused to take their foot off the gas until the final buzzer sounded in the 67-40 victory.
The triumph notched Sequoyah’s fifth gold ball in program history and its second in the last three years. Callison – who picked up his third title as a coach, second with Sequoyah – admitted he was pleasantly surprised by Saturday’s lopsided affair.
“I really thought we could win the ball game, but I didn’t think it would be like that,” Callison said. “That was unbelievable for the state finals, for us to go off for 25 in a row. I didn’t know we did, but I knew it was quite a bit.”
A made free throw early in the second quarter brought Comanche to within one point, 15-14, before it started a scoring drought that lasted up until the 3:44-mark of the third. Sequoyah, which shot 56 percent in the game, scored 25 unanswered before Misty Dossey, Comanche’s 6-foot-5 standout center, ended the run with a layup. The score was Comanche’s first made basket since the 1:12-mark of the first period.
Dossey finished with a team-high 15 points, which Callison saw as a defensive victory for Sequoyah. He credited his sophomore center, Jonia Walker, for containing Dossey throughout the night.
“Jonia played a big part because we knew we had a strong body there that’d come in,” Callison said. “We were going to push on the big girl as much as we could. We knew we couldn’t block her shot, but we doubled her all night long and they couldn’t get the ball in to her. And we took our chance with the outside shots.”
The defensive scheme worked.
With limited looks in the paint, Comanche was forced to work its offense from the perimeter and ended up shooting just 13.3 percent (2-for-15) from 3-point range and 26 percent (11-of-42) from the floor.
Three Sequoyah players notched double-digit scoring, with senior Cenia Hayes leading all with 15 points. She was also Sequoyah’s leading scorer in the 2015 finals game with 33 points before she suffered an ACL injury to miss all of last season. Freshman Alexys Keys scored 14 points, while Calesa Murdock tallied 11.
“I’m so proud of this girl right here because she’s gone through so much,” Callison said with his arm around Hayes. “With that torn ACL, she had to sit out last year… We just had a great group of kids who got along well and played well as a team. It’s a great feeling.”
Merissa Smith and Kymber Tyon were the other two returners from Sequoyah’s 2015 title team that picked up a 55-38 win over Chisholm in the finals.
“It’s been such a great run with these seniors,” Callison said. “They’ve won two now and have been here four years in a row. It’s the way we wanted to finish it up.”