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Tahlequah Lady Tigers defend championship at Mother Road Classic

Tahlequah came into the finals, cruising and winning their last four by an average margin of 16 points and awaiting them was a familiar foe in former Metro Lakes Conference rival Coweta Lady Tigers.

The Coweta Tigers were not going to be a pushover ranked No. 8 in 5A and having defeated tournament host Verdigris in the semifinals.

The beginning of the game was exactly what you would expect with two good teams. Tahlequah grabbed the early lead with Coweta battling back, ending the quarter 15-13. The second quarter was much of the same with both teams playing a stingy defense and showing opportunistic scoring.

Coweta outscored the Lady Tigers 14-11 in the quarter, taking a 1-point lead into the half. The third quarter was much of the same as the second with Coweta again outscoring Tahlequah 10-9.

The quarter proved to be as exciting as we hoped it would be with the Tahlequah Tigers coming out on a 7-2 run, taking their first lead since the second quarter. The middle of the fourth saw five lead changes and three ties. At the 2:44 mark, Jadyn Buttery calmly stepped to the free-throw line and sunk two huge free throws, giving the Tahlequah Lady Tigers the lead for good. The final 2:44 saw Coweta desperately trying to get the ball back while Tahlequah did their best to run out the clock.

Buttery and Mathews combined to go 6-6 from the line down the stretch to seal the championship.  

Tournament MVP Kori Rainwater once again led the team with 22 points leaving her nine away from 1,000, 10 rebounds and two steals. She averaged 18 points, eight rebounds, three steals and three blocks. Buttery had 10 points, five rebounds and seven assists. For the tournament, she averaged 14 points. Madi Mathews had five points. Talyn Dick had 12, and Jersey Retzloff had three to finish the scoring for the night.


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