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Lady Tigers pick up wins 53 and 54, going for 55 Friday at Collinsville

Madi Mathews, Talyn Dick, Jersey Retzloff, Jadyn Buttery, Kori Rainwater, and Paisley Qualls were honored for their accomplishments as Tahlequah Lady Tigers on Senior Night. They put on a show by dismantling the Pryor Lady Tigers, 84-35. For an encore, they defeated the highly ranked Booker T. Washington Lady Hornets, 62-54.

Against Pryor, the Lady Tigers came out fast from the field, shooting 13-16 while forcing eight Pryor turnovers in the first quarter and taking a 34-15 lead. Pryor shot 75 percent in the quarter but still found themselves down due to turnovers and hot shooting by Tahlequah.

Mathews was a perfect 6-6 from the field for 16 points. By halftime, the Lady Tigers had stretched their lead out to 53-22 by clamping down defensively and forcing Pryor to shoot 2-9 and forcing five more turnovers.

Coming out in the third quarter, the game plan was the same pressuring, swarming defense while running the offense with crisp passing and a lot of movement, allowing the Lady Tigers to go into the final quarter up comfortably 72-31.

The starters were able to rest, allowing some younger players to get into the game. These younger players stretched the lead by outscoring Pryor 12-4 in the quarter to complete the win.

As a team, the Lady Tigers shot 56 percent from the field and a perfect 10-10 from the line.

Defensively, Tahlequah forced 16 turnovers on 12 steals. Most impressive were the 25 assists with only three turnovers. To put that into perspective, the Lady Tigers averaged 13 assists and 10 turnovers during the season.

Mathews led the team with 22 points on 6-7 shooting from the three-point line, Rainwater had 17 on 6-7 shooting, Buttery had 14 points on 6-7 shooting with five assists. Dick had 14 points with a perfect night from the line, going 6-6 and a season high of eight assists. Qualls had a perfect 2-2 from three for six points, Carsyn Gilbert had seven points and was also perfect from the court going 3-3. Retzloff had two points while Lauren Stephens had two points to go with two rebounds, two assists, a steal, and a block.

In the second game of the week, Tahlequah put their conference/district win streak on the line against highly ranked Booker T. Washington. Both teams came out aggressively with Tahlequah going to a zone defense and BTW going to a man-to-man.

The Lady Tigers were able to lead at the end of the first quarter, 17-12 with balanced scoring and holding the Lady Hornets shooting percentage down, but they dominated the offensive boards outrebounding the Lady Tigers 10-5.

In the second quarter, Rainwater started to assert herself on the boards and limited BTW second chance points. At the half, the Lady Tigers held a 28-22 lead and shot 45 percent from the court while the Lady Hornets were shooting 44 percent.

Rainwater paced Tahlequah at the half with 12 points while Marcayla Johnson led BTW with 10.

The intensity started to pick up in the third quarter with every possession being crucial for both teams. The Lady Hornets were able to draw to within four multiple times in the quarter, until Dick was able to drain a three-point shot to give Tahlequah the momentum. Tahlequah was able to increase the lead to 11 by the end of the quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Booker T. started to show their increased intensity to try and shrink the Lady Tiger lead. Knowing the Lady Hornets were going to make a run, it was huge when Dick hit her third three-point of the game with 5:53 to play to stretch the lead to 12.

BTW was able to get momentum on their side and get it into single digits with 2:50 to play on a rebound, and coast-to-coast and 1 by Johnson.

The Lady Tigers went into scramble mode and gave up multiple turnovers, forcing a timeout by Coach David Qualls. With under two minutes to play, it became a game of keep away and making free throws for Tahlequah.

The Lady Tigers were able to keep it from getting into a one-possession game despite BTW having multiple opportunities to do so. Buttery was able to go 4-4 from the line to seal the win for Tahlequah.

The Lady Tigers shot 43 percent from the field and were 17-21 from the free-throw line for 81 percent. The Lady Hornets were only 7-9 from the free-throw line but held the rebound advantage 35-25. It was a well-played game, both teams only committed nine turnovers and Johnson led both teams in scoring with 27 points.

Rainwater had 18 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks, Dick had 15 points while Buttery had 14 points going a perfect 6-6 again from the line. Mathews had eight points and three assists, Retzloff had six points and five rebounds, and Qualls rounded out the scoring with 1.

What’s next    

The Lady Tigers will try to secure a home regional Friday, Feb. 2 at Collinsville. Game time will be 6 p.m.


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