On Wednesday the calendar turns to March and fittingly the first game of the Class A state tournament is early that morning. PrepHoops will have live coverage of all seven Class A State Tournament games from the Big House at…
On Wednesday the calendar turns to March and fittingly the first game of the Class A state tournament is early that morning. PrepHoops will have live coverage of all seven Class A State Tournament games from the Big House at the State Fairgrounds.
Here’s a first look at the teams and standout players that make up the Class A field.
#1 Caddo 21-2
The only team returning from last year’s Class A State tournament, the Caddo Bruins enter with the top ranking. They already have two wins against fellow teams in the field, an overtime victory over Rattan and a 12 point victory over Liberty. Along with those two wins, they also took down Class B tournament team Kitna. Caddo will open with the only unranked team in the field, Drummond. The two towns are about as geographical opposite as possible in Oklahoma, with Caddo being a southern Oklahoma town and Drummond tucked away in northwestern Oklahoma.
Along with the team accolades, the Bruins likely have the best player in the field, junior. An accomplished scorer, Dill is sure to turn heads with his deep scoring bag. He’s electrifying as an off the dribble shooter in the mid-range and from beyond the arc. While also having the ability to finish explosively at the rim. To go along with his team high 22 points per game, he’s stuffing the stat sheet with 6 rebounds, 3 assists and an eye popping 6.5 steals per game.
Dill helped the Bruins win their Area championship by pouring in 44 points in their win over Boone-Apache. The other Bruin in double figures is junior Carson Culbreath, who is averaging 10 points per game. 5 foot 10 freshman Kale Brister is third on the team in scoring with an 8 points per game average.
The “stunner” of the field, despite 19 regular season victories, the Bulldogs from northwestern Oklahoma were unranked heading into the playoffs. They reached the Regionals finals where they took on third ranked Vanoss and lost 59-41. This meant the Bulldogs had to run the Area gauntlet with three games in three days.
The run started with a 57-41 win over a ranked Aprapho-Butler, a 54-44 victory over eleventh ranked Velma-Alma and then a Saturday night rematch against Vanoss. A week after the Regionals loss, the Bulldogs were enable to enact revenge with a 57-54 victory that ended Vanoss’ season and saw Drummond headed to Oklahoma City.
6 foot tall sophomore guard Colten Dillingham scores a team high 20.9 points per game for the relatively youngish Bulldogs. The only senior in their top 8 rotation is senior Kelton Arnold, who averages 5.6 points per game. Keep an eye out for junior Braylen Peters and his scoring punch off the bench, with 9.2 points per game.
#18 Liberty 21-5
Hailing from just south of Tulsa, Liberty arrive in OKC fresh off an impressive 65-34 victory over top 10 ranked Allen. That victory was their eighth straight this season and sealed the Area Championship for them last Friday. Before that win they proved just how dangerous they could be when to win their Regional Championship, they upset second ranked Rattan with a 41-37 victory. Those two back to back wins could make a case that no team is hotter in Class A right now than the Tigers. To continue their climb, they’ll need a third straight top 10 win when they take on Seiling on Wednesday.
Leading the charge for the Tigers is 6 foot 3 junior guard Jarren Cargil. Averaging 18 points on the season, he’ll have a chance to turn heads at the Big House thanks to explosive finishing in transition. They are another younger team in this tournament, with only one senior in their top 7. Their other double digit scorer, is 6 foot junor guard. Thompson is averaging 11.5 points a game.
#5 Okarche 26-2
Continuing the youth movement theme of this state tournament, with only one senior on the team Okarche earned a top 5 season ranking and Area Championship. They have not lost since a Three Rivers tournament defeat in early January. This included ending the regular season with a 64-56 win over 2A Cashion. The Warriors opened the playoffs with an average margin of victory of 33 points, including a 20 point victory over Velma-Alma. In Area, their high flying offense continued as they put 70 points over Vanoss, punching their ticket to the Big House.
Leading the way for the Warriors is the duo of Hunter Mueggenborg and. Hunter started as a freshman last season, and runs the show as Okarche’s floor general. The leading scorer at 16.2 points per game, Jett has hit big shots for the Warriors all season long. Another freshman, Easton Roby exploded for 35 points against Southwest Covenant in mid January.
With an exciting young core of talent, this could be the start of a run for the Warriors. And they’ll get it started this week bright and early with a 9 AM contest against #2 ranked Rattan.
#4 Okay 24-2
The Mustangs enter undefeated against fellow Class A opponents, with both of their losses coming to 4A Stillwell and 3A Keys. Along the way they also took down #2 Class 2A program Preston and 4A Area team Inola. In the playoffs, they racked up three straight double digits victories to qualify for the Area Championship. In Area, it took overtime but they prevailed against Seiling.
Okay is a team filled with sophomores, juniors and even a freshman making key contributions. 5 foot 8 sparkplug sophomoreis their leading scoring at 16 points a game. There are three other players in their starting line up averaging double figures, sophomore Byrson Parnell along with juniors Ashton Walters and Duckee Swimmer. Freshman Chase Clark scores an impressive 15 points a game.
It gets started for the Warriors at 10:30 on Wednesday, against an upperclassmen heavy Texhoma team.
#2 Rattan 26-4
An upset in Regionals forced Rattan to join the rank of teams needing to win three games in three days to make the Big House. Based on the results all that Regional loss did was make the Rams angry. They brushed aside Riverside 64-42, beat ninth ranked Riverfield 62-61 and then smoothered seventh ranked Allen, 43-29. While they enter via the consolation bracke,t those results along with big game hunting victories against Class 3A Roland and Class 2A Pocola, have the Rams firmly in the mix to take home the Gold Ball.
The senior duo of Cale Clay and Jace May lead the way for the Rams’ balanced attack. Clay averages a team high 12.2 points per game. May is right there with 11.3 points per game and junior Lgoan Smith is nipping at their heels with 9.6 points per game. The Rams have been a quality defensive team this year, making for a fun opening round match up against the youthful, fast past Warriors of Okarche.
#6 Seiling 23-2
With a talented junior class, the Wildcats were cruising in the playoffs with huge wins over Ringwood, Covington-Douglass and Oklahoma Bible. An Area Championship match up against Okay saw them stumbled in overtime. But they showed no signs of an hangover the next night, with a 50-42 victory over Ripley. Their regular season was highlighted by a 20+ point wins against fellow state tournament team Texhoma and Class 2A Area team Hooker. Proving that when the Wildcats are on, they can blowout quality squads.
Seiling has three scorers in double figures. All three are juniors, with Hudson Hamar averaging a team high 16.8 points. Fellow starter Kaden Manuel averages 10.7 points per game, while Jacob Colvard provides a scoring punch off the bench with a 13.3 scoring average. Senior Jase Norton provides size at 6 foot 5 and chips in with 8.6 points himself.
#10 Texhoma 24-6
The Red Devils from the panhandle are another squad riding the momentum of three straight Area wins. But their gauntlet run began a week earlier than other consolation bracket qualifiers. In the opening round of Regionals, they fell 62-55 against Cyril. It took two more wins to get out of Regionals, then in Area their three straight victories included a revenge win over Cyril (56-45). They completed the gauntlet by taking down #8 Boone-Apache with a 56-45 victory on Saturday night.
A mix of seniors and juniors, a mid season injury to senior double double threatimpacted their season. Hernandez has over 1,000 career points scored and five of their losses this season came without the senior. He returned in Districts and with averages of 12.6 points and 11.2 rebounds per game is a key part of the Red Devils’ attack. 6 foot 4 junior Jerry Hernandez has stepped up this season with huge averages of 16.7 points and 9.2 rebounds. Their other starter in double figures is senior guard Jose Garay, who averages 11.5 points per game.