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Tigers renew rivalry with the Comets of Bishop Kelley

The first matchup of the night pitted the 13-1 Lady Tigers against the 6-5 Lady Comets, with a final score of 42-32.

Early in the game, both teams demonstrated the ability to play defense. The Lady Tigers weren’t able to get into the scoring column until almost two minutes gone in the first quarter, but Bishop Kelley had to wait until half the quarter was gone to score and found themselves down 6-2.

Once they broke through, they were able to get close to within one before Tahlequah went on a 6-0 run to end the quarter.

The second quarter was much the same with the Lady Tigers doubling the score of the Lady Comets 22-11. Tahlequah played a pressure man-to-man, which is a change from their typical zone. The switch worked against the Lady Comets, holding their quarter totals through the end of the third quarter of six, five and six allowing Tahlequah to go into the fourth leading 32-17.

From there, the Lady Tigers were able to finish off the win.

Jadyn Buttery led the way with 15 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocks. Kori Rainwater, not to be outdone, finished with 13 points, a season high of 16 rebounds and seven blocks. Jersey Retzloff had six points and three boards. Madi Mathews finished with four, Talyn Dick had three and Carsyn Gilbert finished the scoring with one.

The main question for the Tigers coming into their matchup was how they would rally with the loss of senior point guard Brycen Smith due to injury.

Early on, the Tigers struggled to get any offensive flow. They continued to play a stingy defense, however; and finished the first quarter down 9-12. Senior Zeke Guererro started the second quarter with a three, tying the game at 12. Bishop Kelley was able to regain their momentum and lead by as much as six later in the quarter.

Tahlequah had a chance to close within one before the end of the half but a turnaround jumper by Cash McAlvain fell short. The Tigers trailed by just three at the half, helped by Bishop Kelley going 2-10 from three.

The third quarter started slow for both teams but Tahlequah was able to wrestle the momentum away with a three to tie the game at 28 by McAlvain at the 4:05 mark. Tahlequah was able to force a Bishop Kelley timeout when Donovan Smith took a rebound coast-to-coast for a 32-28 lead.

This would prove to be short lived as the Comets were able to go on a 6-0 run to end the quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Tigers were able to tie the score at 39 with 4:44 to play on free throws by Smith forcing another Comet timeout. Coming out of the timeout, the Comets were able to reel off five straight points. Smith was able to stop the run with an old-fashioned three that was set up with a smooth spin move.

At this point, the game could of went either way but unfortunately for the Tigers a costly turnover near half court, while trying to set up the offense, allowed the Comets to get a breakaway layup and more importantly, go up by two possessions with under a minute to play.

Luck and Comet miscues were nowhere to be found down the stretch, seeing the Tigers fall by the final score of 46-50.

Smith finished with 22 points and nine rebounds, McAlvain had 14, Guererro had eight and Cole Robertson had two.

What’s next

The Tigers play Booker T. Washington at the TMAC on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 6 p.m., weather permitting.


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