Fouls hurt Tigers late, sent to consolation bracket by Coweta

Feb. 22—TULSA — Despite a back-and-forth game, the Tahlequah Tigers lost their first-round game in the Regional Tournament to Coweta.

Throughout the second half, the Tigers and CHS played hot potato with the lead. After 18 lead changes or ties in the second half, CHS took down the Tigers 51-47 on Thursday, Feb. 22 at Holland Halls.

"I thought they played really hard, it was a tight game the whole time," THS Head Coach Duane Jones said. "We got in foul trouble and that hurt us. We had some opportunities and we didn't capitalize. I thought they played pretty good defense, we only gave up 20. It was playoff basketball both teams getting after each other."

THS started the game slowly on offense with CHS taking a narrow lead early on. Around the halfway point in the first quarter, the Tigers found their footing after a Zeke Guerrero three-pointer gave them their first lead [9-7] of the game.

After some back and forth, CHS took the lead going into the second quarter 14-11.

The second quarter saw the Tigers' offense slow down some. After Cash McAlvain left briefly after a bump on the court, CHS started to build a 20-13 lead. But the slump wouldn't last with THS getting hot and getting within one [20-19] entering halftime.

"I thought at times we played well on the defensive end. Then there were times we had some undisciplined stuff," Jones said.

After halftime, the dogfight began after Donovan Smith picked up an easy lay-up to retake the lead for THS. After that Smith would become a wrecking crew for the Tigers, picking up 12 points in the third quarter. Smith ended the game with 23 points to lead the Tigers.

While Smith was a big reason for bringing the Tigers back, he would get into some defensive problems. After picking up his fourth foul with about three and a half minutes left, it would only be about another minute before Smith's fifth and final foul put him on the bench.

"Donovan basically took us on his shoulders, it was unfortunate he got the fouls he did. It ended up biting us in the end," Jones said.

Smith wasn't the only player to finish the game on the bench. After picking up his fourth in the third quarter, Cash McAlvain played the final quarter nearly clean before his fifth foul exiled him to the bench with about a minute left.

With the Tigers' top scorers on the bench, CHS was able to edge out THS to take the 51-47 win.

"It was just so good of a game, a tough playoff game really back and forth, gutsy game," Jones said. "I'm proud of how they played in that situation. We are still alive. It is a one-game season every time we play so we will have to step on the floor ready."

THS will be back in action at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22. The next loss will mean the end of the Tigers' season.

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