Dec. 4—COWETA — Tahlequah continued its early-season dominance Friday against Coweta.
The Class 6A seventh-ranked Lady Tigers scored the game's first 27 points, held Coweta scoreless over the first nine-plus minutes and cruised to a 70-26 win. The landslide win came two days after they demolished Collinsville, 75-27, Tuesday in their season opener at the Tahlequah Multipurpose Activity Center.
Tahlequah, paced by senior point guard Smalls Goudeau's 14 points, was ignited by a full-court pressure defense that suffocated Coweta, forcing turnovers in bunches for a large portion of the first half.
"Anytime we start like that, holding opponents scoreless in the first quarter, we're doing some good things defensively," Tahlequah head coach David Qualls said. "We've got to get that first bucket in and get our press going. Our defense has turned into offense really well for us these first two games. I thought we came out ready to play, and I still think we can play better."
Senior forward Faith Springwater started the scoring flurry with an inside score and 3-pointer from the left wing, senior guard Tatum Havens added three points on a basket and free throw, sophomore forward Kori Rainwater chipped in with a field goal and a pair of free throws, and Goudeau scored 10 points on five baskets to spark Tahlequah early.
Goudeau's layup after a Lydia McAlvain steal made it 24-0 to begin the second quarter, and McAlvain capped the surge with an offensive rebound, basket and free throw to make it 27-0 at the 7:04 mark. Coweta's first points came with 6:50 remaining before halftime on a Cooper Hilton 3-pointer.
The Lady Tigers later added a 7-0 run behind a Havens' 3, Buttery free throw and McAlvain 3-pointer to extend their lead to 37-5, and took a 39-7 lead into halftime on a Rainwater putback basket with seven seconds left.
Tahlequah increased its lead to 40 points (47-7) at the 4:24 point of the third quarter after McAlvain buried her second 3-pointer and Rainwater converted a free throw.
The Lady Tigers led by as many as 49 points on two occasions in the final quarter. Taylyn Dick knocked down a 3 from the left wing with 3:08 remaining to make it 66-17, and Averi Keys connected on a baseline jumper with 2:01 left to put Tahlequah up 68-19.
Rainwater and McAlvain joined Goudeau in double figures with 11 points each. Sophomore forward Jadyn Buttery came off the bench to score eight points, and both Emily Morrison and Havens followed with six points apiece.
The Lady Tigers will next host Tulsa East Central on Thursday, Dec. 9 to open the Cherokee Nation Businesses Tahlequah Invitational in a 10 a.m. tipoff at the TMAC.
Tigers come up short: Coweta went on a pair of 9-2 runs in the second half and held off Tahlequah, 61-54, Friday in Coweta.
It's the second consecutive loss for Tahlequah, who slipped to 2-2 overall and 0-2 in the Metro Lakes Conference.
Coweta, lifted by Trey Bartholomew's game-high 17 points, were propelled late in the third quarter and into the fourth by a Tye Hair 3-pointer and a Mason Ford layup that gave the Tigers a 44-37 lead after Tahlequah tied the contest at 35 at the 2:48 mark on an inside score by Hayden Smith.
Tahlequah, led by Smith, Zeke Guerrero and Braylon McDowell with 13 points apiece, got to within four points (44-40) on a 3-pointer from the right wing by Guerrero, but Coweta followed with another 9-2 run to go up 53-42 after a Hair trey with 3:59 remaining.
Tahlequah went just 2 for 10 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. The Tigers were a perfect 7 for 7 in the first half.
Coweta extended its lead to 57-46 with 1:56 left on a basket by Bartholomew, and led 59-49 on another field goal by Bartolomew with 1:22 remaining.
Tahlequah then scored the next five points on a Smith inside score and a Guerrero 3 from the left corner to narrow the margin to 59-54 with 34 seconds left.
Coweta put the game out of reach on a pair of free throws by Aaron Hall with 13 seconds remaining.
Tahlequah will face Muskogee at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 9 on the opening day of the CNB Tahlequah Invitational at the TMAC.