– BY MICHAEL KNIGHT
The Tournament Of Champions begins on Wednesday and runs until Friday. OKPreps will once again be your home for TOC coverage of the 53rd annual winter break classic. While OKPreps won’t have live broadcasts this season, our other coverage will continue to be the best in the state. In addition to game recaps, we’ll have highlights, interviews and breakdowns throughout the week. At the conclusion of the tournament, we’ll also have a tournament most outstanding player and an All Tournament Team. Get ready for the tournament with our in-depth preview, starting with a look at the bracket, a breakdown of each team and players to watch.
Holland Hall (6-2)
Ranked: #6 (3A)
Holland Hall heads into the tournament with one of the best players in the state with Gabby Gregory. The Lady Dutch have only been tripped up in two games, both coming to Victory Christian, who is also in the tournament. However, a third meeting in the TOC is unlikely unless they meet on day three. In a loaded field, Holland Hall still stands out behind Gregory.
Ranked: #4 (4A)
Muldrow is one of several teams that are undefeated coming into the tournament. Muldrow has been great so far this season but this will be their first tournament action of the season. Their closest game so far was a 14-point victory earlier this month. Muldrow will look to repeat another 4A power’s run from a year ago when Fort Gibson won the tournament.
Ranked: #14 (6A)
Owasso returns to the Tournament Of Champions for the second straight year. The Lady Rams have had a rocky start to their season as injuries have kept them from getting off to a good start. As they enter the tournament, they are starting to get close to 100%. This week might feature the Lady Rams taking off to a possible state tournament run.
Sand Springs (8-0)
Ranked: #1 (6A)
In a tournament field that features so many talented and highly ranked teams, it’s hard to pick one as the favorite. However, Sand Springs has to be considered the favorite going in behind their talented roster and shutdown defense. The Lady Sandites are off to an undefeated start and they’ll aim to show why they’re the top ranked team in 6A hoops today.
Ranked: #1 (A)
Seiling is back in the Tournament Of Champions as the smallest school in the loaded tournament field. However, they won’t back down in any match-up. They’re one of the best teams, regardless of class, in the last two seasons. This current run that they’re on started at the TOC in 2015. The Lady Cats knocked off 5A powers East Central and Claremore.
Ranked: #1 (5A)
The third top ranked team in the field is 5A’s Tahlequah. The Lady Tigers are making their first ever appearance in the Tournament Of Champions and they’ll hope it’s the first of two trips to the Mabee Center this season. It’s been a while since they’ve been on the floor. Their last game was the championship game of the Tahlequah Invitational on December 9th.
Victory Christian (7-1)
Ranked: #8 (4A)
Victory Christian makes the long trip across Lewis Avenue to the Mabee Center. The Lady Conquerors are in the tournament after the boys team has made several trips in the last few years. The Lady Conquerors are off to a strong start to the season. Their only set back was in the championship game in the Inola Tournament. They fell to 4A’s #1 Fort Gibson.
Ranked: #5 (6A)
The third of three ranked teams in Class 6A is Westmoore. The Lady Jags make the trip over to Tulsa after a 5-2 start to their year. Their only losses have come to powerhouse Deer Creek and a team out of Texas. Westmoore has a great blend of experience and youth in their lineup. That firepower will be on display over the three days.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Delaney Nix – Guard – Tahlequah
Tahlequah senior Delaney Nix moved to Tahlequah last year and had the Lady Tigers in the state tournament. Now they make their first appearance in the Tournament Of Champions and Nix, one of the best guards in Oklahoma, should be anxious to get back on the Mabee Center floor. Last year, Nix was a finalist for the OKPreps Player Of The Year award after a stellar season.
Destiny Johnson – Guard – Sand Springs
Johnson is one of the dynamic juniors that has the Lady Sandites ranked #1 in Class 6A. While Johnson’s teammate Holly Kersgieter is currently committed to Kansas, Johnson seems to be the engine that makes this Sand Springs machine roll. One of the more athletic guards in the state, Johnson uses her defense to set up the Lady Sandite offense. She’ll look to shine this week.
Gabby Gregory – Guard/Forward – Holland Hall
Perhaps the best overall player in the tournament field is Holland Hall junior Gabby Gregory. Last year, as a sophomore, Gregory was a finalist for the OKPreps Player Of The Year award, alongside Nix at Tahlequah. Gregory has the ability to torch an opposing defense. In a game earlier this month, Gregory went off for 47 points in a win. She could put up big numbers all three days.
Jessi Murcer – Guard – Westmoore
A senior standout that’s signed to play college ball at Oklahoma, Jessi Murcer and Westmoore look to make a big splash at the Tournament Of Champions. Murcer’s future teammate, Ana Llanusa, starred in this tournament with Choctaw the last few years. Murcer has the chance to do the same thing this year in a tournament field that’s stacked with future state tournament teams.
Macy Gore – Guard – Seiling
Macy Gore and twin sister Karly Gore emerged during this tournament when they were just young freshmen in 2015. Gore and the Lady Cats will attempt to recreate that magic that they had a few years ago. Macy and Karly provide a great outside/inside threat for the Lady Cats. Macy runs the offense and Karly is the inside threat that can become a double double machine.