Excitement abounds in Claremore.
The No. 5 Zebras are 8-1, headed to the Class 5A playoffs and looking to keep the momentum with a huge ‘Senior Night’ performance against the Grove Ridgerunners this Friday at Lantow Field.
According to Claremore head football coach Rob Gilbreath, “Last week’s win at Coweta was great for this team, the town of Claremore and our school. It guaranteed us a home playoff game — something that hasn’t taken place in quite a while.”
The Zebras clinched the No. 2 seed in the District 5A-4 race behind East Central and will more than likely face either Tulsa Memorial or McAlester in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs on Nov. 9 at Lantow Field.
Gilbreath acknowledged that his team deserves the town of Claremore behind them as the Zebras journey into the postseason.
“Each week, the fans that have come out and supported us have seen that this team never quits and plays with heart,” Gilbreath said. “We’re a team that isn’t going to go down without putting up a fight.”
Claremore’s task Friday night, though, comes against a Grove team that is struggling, Gilbreath added.
“Grove hasn’t won a district game and their only victory came against Miami in Week 1,” he continued. “However, they are one of those teams that doesn’t have anything to lose and will fight hard as long as we let them. The important thing that we have to do is take it to them early and often until they want to throw in the towel.”
Offensively, Grove (1-8 overall, 0-6 district) has total 147 points in nine games for an average of 16.3 per contest.
According to Gilbreath, “Their quarterback (Spychalski) is good and throws and runs well. The tailback (Steffenson) is a good athlete, too, that runs hard and has made some long runs this year.
“Up front, though, they are not very good and struggle against slanting and blitzing.”
Claremore’s defense — led by senior linebacker Jordan Cunningham and with 143 tackles and senior defensive end Grady Caton — has given up a total of 120 points in nine games for an average of 13.3 per contest.
“We take pride in running a base defense that swarms to the football,” Gilbreath said.
The old adage of ‘Defense wins Championships’ still holds true in Zebra Country as coordinator Jarrett Hurt and his ‘Wrecking Crew’ have held four opponents to under 10 points.
Coweta, in Week 9, is the only opponent to score 25 points or more on the Zebras’ fierce defense.
Excitement abounds in Claremore.
'Twice as Nice'
When it comes to the 3A State Tournament and Oklahoma City, the Verdigris High School basketball teams are a household name.
Head coaches Randy Upshaw and Mike Buntin lead their programs back to the 'Capitol City' this week for a chance to hoist the coveted 3A state championship on Saturday night at the Big House.
‘Soaring to State’
In the hometown of Carrie Underwood, Verdigris senior point guard Baileigh O’Dell proved to be Oklahoma’s ‘Basketball Idol’ in Class 3A Girls Basketball.
The 5-foot-8 floor general put the No. 4-ranked Lady Cardinals on her shoulders and carried Verdigris back to the the state tournament with the 53-40 win over No. 5 Tahlequah Sequoyah Friday night in the Area Championship at the Checotah Event Center.
3A AREA PLAYOFFS: Tahlequah Sequoyah wins nail-biter over No. 4 Verdigris
The Tahlequah Sequoyah Indians pulled the upset Friday night and punched their ticket to the Class 3A State Tournament.
Behind Caisen Green’s game-high 26 points and B.J. Leach’s 16 points, the Indians roared past No. 4 Verdigris, 64-55 in the Area Championship at the Checotah Event Center.
4A AREA PLAYOFFS: Stilwell eliminates Inola
The Inola Longhorns got behind early and never could recover as Stilwell rolled to a 73-47 win in the Class 4A Area Tournament Friday afternoon at Claremore High School Gymnasium.
4A AREA PLAYOFFS: Inola knocks out Locust Grove
The Inola Lady Longhorns moved one win closer to punching their ticket to the Class 4A State Tournament Friday afternoon.
With the 37-35 win over Locust Grove, the Lady Longhorns advanced to the Area Finals Saturday night against Vinita.
High School Basketball State Tournament Brackets
The Oklahoma High School Basketball State Tournaments will get under way this week in Oklahoma City and the Tulsa-Metro Area.
Below is a listing of the Class 3A-6A State Tournament Pairings.
Arkansas fires women's basketball coach Tom Collen
Arkansas fired women's basketball coach Tom Collen on Friday, bringing a close to a disappointing stretch for the program.
The Razorbacks (19-11) lost in the first round of the Southeastern Conference tournament to Mississippi on Wednesday, the eighth time in nine seasons they've failed to advance past the opening game.
SEC MBB: Alabama snaps Arkansas' 6-game win streak
Trevor Releford scored 24 points and Shannon Hale added 18 to lead Alabama to an 83-58 victory over Arkansas on Saturday, snapping the Razorbacks' six-game winning streak.
SEC MBB: Tennessee trounces Missouri, 72-45
Antonio Barton scored 16 points and Jarnell Stokes had a double-double Saturday as Tennessee trounced Missouri 72-45 to win its fourth straight game and boost its NCAA tournament hopes.
BIG 12 MBB: Crockett leads Texas Tech past Texas
Jaye Crockett scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Texas Tech to a 59-53 win over Texas in a regular-season finale on Saturday.
This was the Red Raiders' (14-17, 6-12 Big 12) first win over the Longhorns (22-9, 11-7) since 2008 in Lubbock.
- More Sports Headlines
- 'Twice as Nice'