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Tahlequah cagers split in first round of Mother Road Classic

In tournament play you find yourself with unusual start times. Thursday’s game tipped off at 10:30 a.m. The typical format is for the ladies to play first but because of the way the bracket played out we witnessed the boys on the floor to begin the tournament.


Both teams went back and forth early but the Kiefer Trojans went on a 12-0 run midway through the second period to go up by nine at the half.


Coming out of the break, the Tigers went down by as much as 12 midway through the third quarter. The Tigers refused to go down without a fight though and battled back thanks to a more up-tempo style forced by a trapping half court defense.


Early in the fourth, the Tigers went up by as much as six. There were three ties and four lead changes from this point on. At the 2:39 mark, Donovan Smith completed a 3-point play but unfortunately for the Tigers, they went ice cold from this point.


The only scoring on a tip-in at the buzzer by Smith, falling by the score of 59-60. The Tigers were paced by Cash McAlvain with 21 points on 9-14 shooting, Smith finished with 14, Zeke Guerrero with eight, Cole Robertson with six, Brycen Smith had four points and a team high six assists. Miguel Rodriguez had four and Jordan Dougherty had two.


In the second game, the Lady Tigers faced off against the Purcell Lady Dragons.


The pace was fast for both teams coming out of the locker room. Senior Jadyn Buttery scored the first eight points of the game for the Lady Tigers. With the score in favor of the Lady Tigers 20-19 after the first quarter.


The pace in the second quarter stayed fast and hectic with the play becoming sloppy at times with only three fouls called in the quarter.


The scoring slowed as a result with the Lady Tigers going into the break leading 33-29. In the third quarter, the game slowed to a crawl with both teams making multiple trips to the free-throw line, but the Lady Tigers continued to extend their lead by outscoring the Lady Dragons 13-9 in the quarter.


In the final stanza, the game leveled out with the Lady Tigers increasing their lead to 17 for a final score of 59-42 with 19 of those points coming from the free-throw line.


Kori Rainwater led the team with 19 points, only 43 away from a 1,000-point for her career. Talyn Dick finished with 15 and six assists, Jadyn Buttery had 15 to go with eight rebounds, Madi Mathews had eight and Paisley Qualls had two.


What’s next


The Tigers will play Friday, Jan. 5 at 10:30 a.m. They will face the losing team of the Wagoner/Tecumseh matchup. The Lady Tigers will tip-off at 3:30 p.m. against the winning team of the Mannford/Tecumseh game. Both games will be broadcast live by Green Country Sports Network.

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