TULSA — Competing in the Tournament of Champions, the Coweta Lady Tigers were far from their former selves as they struggled through three losses after “internal issues” last week that led to the resignation of the coaching staff.
The past week placed this Top 10 Class 5A contender in a position of tension within the team as volunteer coaches, Tiger Head Coach Brandon Maddux and assistant Lucion Littlejohn, were joined by Head Volleyball Coach Tony Ramos on the bench for the tournament.
Returning to regular season action next week, the Lady Tigers will be coached by interim Head Coach Desiree (Booker) Hall, Lady Tiger softball coach, for the remainder of the season.
Facing 5A Tulsa Rogers in the consolation seventh place game Saturday, the Lady Tigers competed well early, trailing by seven 34-27 at halftime. With senior playmaker Madison Wheat fouling out early in the fourth period, the Lady Tigers folded as the Lady Ropers out-scored Coweta 20-4 for a 68-42 victory.
First-half action saw junior forward Linda Brice score 15 of the Lady Tigers 27 points, sinking 9 of 10 free throws in the half. Brice led Coweta in scoring with 19, followed by Alexxia Mercer 10, Wheat seven, Amanda Geneva, Kylie Addington and Moriah Reed added two each.
Tulsa Rogers out-rebounded the Lady Tigers 40-20 and in the final period Lady Roper Nakia Collom sank a crucial field goal and 5 of 6 free throws as she led Rogers in scoring with 27 points.
SECOND ROUND: The Lady Tigers in the Tournament of Champions saw them find their scoring skills once again to lead virtually the entire game before missing some crucial free throws in the final minute to lose 48-47 to the Kellyville Lady Ponies.
Leading 20-15 at half and 33-28 after three periods, the Lady Tigers missed the front end of a one-and-one situation at the free throw line twice and hit only one of two opportunities leaving the door open for the Lady Ponies to sink two free throws with 18.7 seconds to play and one charity toss with 1.8 left on the clock for the winning margin.
Alexxia Mercer found her outside touch to lead the Lady Tigers with 18, Hannah Meadows added nine, Linda Brice eight, Maddie Wheat seven, Allyson Mercer three and Cooper Hilton two. Wheat had 12 rebounds and Amanda Geneva added 11 in the game.
Kellyville’s Jade Upshaw proved the difference maker late for the Lady Ponies sinking three field goals and two of four free throws in the final period, but Kaitlyn Bearpaw hit the crucial free throws to tie and win the game for the Ponies. Upshaw scored 19 and Bearpaw 18.
FIRST ROUND: The Coweta Lady Tigers squad faced 4A Muldrow. The Bulldogs toppled Coweta, 60-31 thumping by the tournament’s defending champions.
Falling behind 8-0 to open the game, the Lady Tigers responded as they have so many times by battling back only trailing by three, 17-14 after the opening period, but from there on the starters scored only two points in the second period and three in the third before being replaced by the bench in the fourth period.
Coming off the bench in the fourth period, freshman Hilton scored seven points to lead the Lady Tigers in scoring, Brelee Burcham and Geneva added two each as they scored 11 of the final 12 Coweta points in a loss to the Bulldogs.
Brice and Wheat scored six each, Meadows five and Moriah Reed three. Brice’s three free throws is all the Lady Tigers got in the basket in the third period. In the second period Muldrow scored 20 straight points to lead 38-16 at halftime.
Returning to regular season action Tuesday, Jan. 7 the Lady Tigers travel to Tahlequah to resume Metro Lakes Conference play under interim Head Coach Hall. They will compete in the Muskogee Shriner’s Tournament Thursday through Saturday, Jan. 9-11. Next home game is Tuesday, Jan. 14 hosting Claremore.
Tournament of Champions
Muldrow 17 21 9 13 — 60
Coweta 14 2 3 12 — 31
Coweta 7 13 13 14 — 47
Kellyville 4 11 13 20 — 48
Will Rogers 18 16 14 20 — 68
Coweta 15 12 11 4 — 42