By CEDRIQUE FLEMMING
MUSKOGEE — Former Northeastern State women’s tennis coach Ron Cox is in his second week as the new coach of the Sequoyah girl’s basketball team, and the Lady Indians are beginning to adapt to his style.
“I’ve had them seven days to this point. They’re trying to do what I’m asking them, but they’re very mechanical because of it,” said Cox, who took over the helm from now-assistant Larry Shade. “We’re not really a basketball team that’s looking to score yet. As soon as they find out what I’m wanting them to do, then we’re going to be a really good ball club.”
Cox got a great look at the team’s potential as the Lady Indians blew away Graham 88-16 in the first round of the small school girl’s portion of the 2013 Bedouin Shrine Classic Tuesday evening at the Muskogee Civic Center.
The majority of scoring for the Lady Indians came off transition points and second-chance efforts, as the overmatched Lady Chieftains simply could not run with Sequoyah.
“I’m really happy with how we played, but we have to do better on the defensive end of the floor once we get deeper into our schedule,” Cox said. “Our offense is going to come, but our defense and rebounding have to be solid.”
Senior Courtney Jones led the Lady Indians with 24 points. Junior Feather Pacheco added 12, and both junior Audrey Ballou and sophomore Sierra Polk scored 10.
The Lady Indians jumped out to an 11-2 lead in the game’s first five minutes and never looked back. Sequoyah held a 15-6 edge after the first quarter and led 39-10 at intermission.
The Lady Indians outscored the Lady Chieftains 25-4 in the third quarter and 22-2 in the fourth. The only basket in the fourth quarter for Graham was at the buzzer.
Sequoyah will face Spiro in the semifinals at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 11 at Muskogee High School. The Lady Bulldogs defeated Porter 54-17 in the first round.
Sequoyah (boys) 71, Webster 55
The Sequoyah boys used a fierce defensive effort to top Tulsa Webster 71-55 in the first round of the 2013 Bedouin Shrine Classic large school boy’s bracket Tuesday night at the Muskogee Civic Center.
The Indians set their trap near half court on nearly every defensive possession, and they continuously forced the Warriors into costly errors and turnovers. They were able to stay fresh by substituting liberally, sometimes even switching all five players on the court at a time.
“Early on we just settled for perimeter shots, but we really got it going once we took it inside and started making the extra pass,” Sequoyah coach Jay Herrin said. “We knew coming in (Tulsa Webster) wasn’t that big, and I was pleased with how we offensive rebounded. We always try to play fast and we always try to push the tempo, so I’m happy we were able to do that tonight.”
Sequoyah dominated the specialty stats, scoring 14 fast-break points to just two from the Warriors. The Indians also led in second-chance points (16-2) and had a comfortable 25-14 advantage in points off turnovers. Sequoyah also recorded 19 assists to just 13 turnovers, while Tulsa Webster had 21 turnovers and just nine helpers.
Ryan Helsley led the Indians with 16 points and eight rebounds. T.J. Jones added 14 points and Caisen Green contributed 10.
Webster’s Kortney Smith started the game and did not leave the court until there were just 30 seconds left on the clock. He exited stage left after dropping a cool 34 points on 11-of-19 shooting, but the rest of his teammates were a mere 8-for-28 (29 percent) from the field and could not keep up with their high-flying point guard.
“We knew coming in that he was a very talented player, and we tried to devise a game plan to slow him down,” Herrin said. “It’s not easy to keep a good player like that from scoring like he did. They might have won the individual scoring, but we won the war.
The Indians held a slim 8-5 margin after the first period, and they led 33-23 at intermission. They outscored the Warriors 38-32 in the second half, and the outcome never seemed in doubt.
Sequoyah will now face Jenks in the semifinals at 9 p.m. Jan. 11 at the Muskogee Civic Center.