OKLAHOMA CITY – Indian Country is taking over State Fair Arena this week, as four predominantly Native high schools compete for an Oklahoma state basketball championship.
One of two Bureau of Indian Education high schools in Oklahoma, Tahlequah Sequoyah is one of the eight schools across all classes to send both girls and boys teams to the state basketball tournament. For both the Indians and Lady Indians, this is their first trip since 2010.
“We are so proud of both teams and both of these coaches,” Sequoyah athletic director Marcus Crittenden said. “They’ve fought it through a lot of adversity to make it to this point and we’re just excited to be in the state tournament. We’re looking forward to making a splash while we’re there.”
The boys team (19-8) will play No. 5 Sperry (23-4) Thursday at 3 p.m. at Yukon High School while the girls will play No. 4 Adair (27-0) at 8:30 p.m. at State Fair Arena, located at 3001 General Pershing Blvd. in Oklahoma City.
Anadarko High School is also sending both of its teams to state. With three tribes headquartered in the city and four more with capitols within 40 miles of town, almost two-thirds of the students enrolled in Anadarko Public Schools are Native American.
Led by Oklahoma State University signee Lakota Beatty, the Lady Warriors are the defending Class 4A state champions and have four starters who average 10 points per game or more. The top-ranked girls (26-1) will open their title defense against No. 11 Vinita Lady Hornets (22-8) Thursday at 8 p.m. at Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Okla.
Last year’s Class 4A runners-up, the No. 4 Warriors (23-3) will play No. 8 Tulsa McLain (15-10) Thursday at 2 p.m. at Choctaw High School.
The undefeated boys team from Class 2A Ketchum High School will also open its state playoff run Thursday when it faces unranked Chouteau (19-9) at 3:30 p.m. at Oklahoma City University. The school, whose district straddles parts of three counties in northeastern Oklahoma near Grand Lake, is more than 60 percent Native American.
Their first state tournament appearance since 1997, the Ketchum Warriors are the top seed after defeating the 2012 state champion, Oklahoma City Northeast, in their area final Friday night.
The Tahlequah High School girls team (16-9) will play No. 3 Midwest City Carl Albert (21-6) Thursday at 8:30 p.m. at Catoosa High School. Other teams in the field include Collinsville, Shawnee, Tulsa Memorial, Tulsa East Central, Del City and Edmond Deer Creek. The finals are scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday at Oral Roberts University’s Mabee Center in Tulsa.