By Wesley Coburn
The Preston Lady Pirates won the 15th annual Muscogee (Creek) Nation Okmulgee County Tournament last week with a win over Beggs at Okmulgee’s Brock Memorial Gym, the eighth time Preston has claimed the title of the best in the county.
Their first-round opponents on Monday were the Henryetta Lady Knights, and after one quarter Preston led 10-7, which grew to 26-15 by halftime. The Lady Pirates doubles Henryetta’s output at one point in the third quarter, finishing it ahead 46-32, and the final score was 59-46 in the Lady Pirates’ favor.
For Preston, scoring was led by Samantha Hack with 13 points, Eunice Leach scored seven points and Aaliyah Harrison and Ahmaiah both added six points each. For Henryetta, Kaylee Hemric had 17 points, Ashlyn Green scored 13 points, and Lexi Lollis added seven.
In the semifinals on Thursday Preston faced the Okmulgee Lady Bulldogs, and Preston jumped out to a 24-10 first-quarter lead and held it ever after. The final score was Preston 63-50, advancing the Lady Pirates into the championship game on Saturday night.
Aiyonna Tecumseh scored 13 points to lead the Lady Pirates, with Harrison, Leach and Tiger all adding 10 points apiece. For Okmulgee, McKenzie James and Kaylee Ward both scored 12 points, with Sahmeya King scoring 11 points and Tierney Gardner adding 10.
The top-seeded Beggs Lady Demons were the opponents in the championship game, and while it started sloppily for both sides, the first quarter ended with Preston holding a 15-13 edge. The Lady Pirate lead expanded to 37-27 at the halftime break; Beggs was hampered by a leg injury to Moia Phillips. At the end of the third quarter Preston led 47-35, but the Lady Demons rallied to trail 55-52 with 3:30 to play. But the Lady Pirates held on to leave the building with the trophy after the 63-56 victory.
Tecumseh led Preston with 16 points, Tiger and Abby Long both scored 11 points, and Hack added 10. Tecumseh also won the girls’ 3-point shooting competition. For Beggs, their scoring was led by Moia Phillips with 14 points, Emiko Goudeau scored 11 points, and Cheyenne Johnson added 10.
Preston gets back to regular-season play at home against Atoka on Tuesday, January 23, with the girls tipping off at 6:30 p.m. and the boys tipping off at 8 p.m.