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Lady Tigers shock in area tournament, fall to Coweta 48-37

Every team’s record gets reset in the playoffs. When the Lady Tigers of Tahlequah squared off against the Lady Tigers of Coweta, both teams’ records were 0-0. Sometimes when the underdog believes they can win and play hard, they can win, that’s why the game is played.

Tahlequah was able to take a 4-2 lead early in the game but would play from behind the rest of the way.

Coweta’s zone defense befuddled our Lady Tigers the whole game. The offense seemed stagnant, and the ball didn’t move very well. Multiple times, outside shots were turned down trying to work the ball inside.

This slowed the game down when Tahlequah wanted to speed it up. At the end of the first quarter, Tahlequah trailed 12-7. The second quarter was much the same for Tahlequah, trailing 13-23 at the half.

Seven of the teams’ 13 points came from the free-throw line when they were 7-10. From the field, Tahlequah was 3-16 and 0-3 from three.

Coweta was the team that historically wanted to slow down the game and limit the number of possessions of the opponent. Their offense seemed to be flowing with better efficiency shooting 9-14 from the field and 3-9 from three.

The second half started slowing for both teams with the score remaining the same until almost midway through the third quarter when Tahlequah was able to go on a run and close to within four with two jumpers by Jadyn Buttery and two free throws from Madi Mathews.

Coweta answered with the game’s next 10 points, leading by 14 at the 1:35 mark. At the end of the third quarter, Tahlequah trailed 35-24. The third was a contentious quarter and had multiple stoppages of play for conferences with referees over the complaining of the Tahlequah fans.

Tahlequah was called for four fouls whereas Coweta was setting screens, and the Tahlequah player would bump them, causing the immediate collapse from the screener. Coweta fans would call this good execution, Tahlequah fans called it flopping.

The referees; however, didn’t like being second-guessed and were asking for the removal of Tahlequah fans. The assistant athletic director for Sand Springs; however, didn’t feel like it warranted an ejection, and the game went on.

If Tahlequah was going to come back, they would have to open the offense and start hitting shots. They were 4-9 from the field in the third but were still blanked from three, going 0-2. It looked like they would be able to do just that in the fourth, going on an 8-2 run to begin the quarter and closed to within three with 2:30 to play off Buttery free-throws.

Coweta maintained possession until the 1:30 mark when Talyn Dick was able to get a huge steal and was immediately fouled for a chance to close to within one or tie.

With 1:20 to play, Jersey Retzloff was able to find Kori Rainwater under the basket in a great position wherein she had been almost automatic all year long. When the ball rolled around and out, the Coweta Lady Tigers secured the rebound. That was the first time it seemed Coweta might get the upset.

Tahlequah was forced to foul to try and get the ball back, but Coweta went 7-8 the rest of the way from the free-throw line, securing the upset victory for the Coweta Lady Tigers.

Tahlequah was 11-36 from the field for 31 percent and 0-9 from the three-point line. Coweta was 16-32 from the field and 5-18 from the three-point line. Buttery had 16 points, Rainwater had 10, Dick had five, Mathews and Retzloff had two, and Carsyn Gilbert had two.

What’s next

The Tahlequah Lady Tigers will play Booker T. Washington Saturday, March 2 at 2 p.m. at Sand Springs.


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