From Phoenix staff reports

From the chief

Chad Smith, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, is here at State Fair Arena, taking in history with the rest of Sequoyah’s fans.

“Certainly this will be history and will be something we’ll all remember for a very long time,” he said, regarding the girls almost-complete quest for a girls state record four state championships. “But the real highlight from this will come sometime in the future when these girls face life’s greater challenges. They’ll benefit from the lessons of teamwork and working together they’ve acquired doing this and will achieve even greater success.”

Smith also gave his thoughts over whether coach Bill Nobles should stick around after Saturday’s game. Speculation about that status has been steady but Nobles himself says he hasn’t made any plans.

“His family says they are happy in Tahlequah,” he said. “I hope he stays. There’s few other places around that has the sense of community and the commitment to the program and facilities that this school does.”

Sequoyah’s “voice”

One might not recognize the name Terrill Barnoskie, but you have heard him if you have attend Sequoyah games.

The Tahlequah native is the one who does the “holler” during and the Indians’ fans respond in echo-like fashion.

It’s part of an age-old tradition, with some modern twists.

“It’s part of a stomp dance that when they used to gather around the camp fire, the leader would start the dance off with the yell,” Barnoskie said. “When my father and I would go hunting, he’d do the yell to know where I was at.”

The 52-year-old Barnoskie started doing the yell at Sequoyah games in 1998. He’s been attending Indians’ games — boys and girls — for 20 years.

“I wanted to get the fans fired up,” he said. “I got up and hollered.”

Early scouting report

Sequoyah boys coach Larry Grigg watched Verdigris, his opponent in the Class 3A finals at 5:45 p.m. today at the State Fair Arena, and knows his Indians have quite a task ahead of them.

Part of that will be trying to slow down Rotnei Clarke, the state’s all-time leading scorer who had 38 points in the win over Oklahoma City’s John Marshall.

“It will be (a tough task). I don’t know if we can stop him. We have to slow him down,” Grigg said. “Their other players are playing better than they did at the Tournament of Champions (in Tulsa in late December.)”

Sequoyah was at that same tournament.

Grigg noted his team has played against Division I signees in each of the last three years at the tournament. Two years ago, the Indians faced Taylor and Blake Griffin, who are now with Oklahoma, last year, Gerald Jones (Tennessee, football) and this time around, Clarke (basketball, Arkansas).

“We just don’t play any teams with regular players,” Grigg said.


Oktaha boys coach Jim Glover is 0-5 against Pawnee coach David Page. Three of those losses were when Page was at Yale with his older son, Brady, now an assistant under him at Pawnee. The last two were against son Keiton, who’s scored 95 points in consecutive semifinal matchups.

“I told him after the game I want to play him again, but I don’t want any more kids involved,” Glover said, tongue-in-cheek.

Keiton trails Verdigris’ Clarke, 3,723 to 3,655, with both seniors having one game today to complete their careers.

Due credit

Fort Gibson coach Jerry Walker wanted to give credit where due after his opening-round win over Weatherford and the Lady Tigers’ quest for a third trip to the Class 4A finals — his assistants, Chuck London and Julie Huggins.

“Chuck just gave me some needed advice Thursday about letting the girls play and utilizing patience in getting the ball inside,” he said. “It’s good to have someone on the bench that’s won a gold ball like he has. And, I’ve got another sounding board who played for me and knows how I go about doing things.”

London coached at Bristow and won titles as an assistant twice before winning it as a head coach in 2001. He’s a first-year teacher at FGHS. Julie Huggins played four years for Walker, graduating in 1999.

“I’ve done nothing much I don’t think,” London said. I’m just glad to be able to offer him a sounding board on different things. It’s always good to have that.”

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