– BY MICHAEL KNIGHT
Who: Fort Gibson VS Harrah
What: Class 4A Girls State Championship
When: Saturday – 2PM
Where: The Big House – Oklahoma City Fairgrounds
In another state championship rematch, Fort Gibson will square off with Harrah. The Lady Tigers and Lady Panthers squared off last season for the state championship. Harrah knocked off Fort Gibson and denied the Lady Tigers their perfect season. One year later, they meet again for the gold ball. However, this isn’t the first time that these two teams will square off this year. They faced off in the third place game of an absolutely stacked Old Fort Classic at Fort Gibson. After Fort Gibson and Harrah lost to Bartlesville and Midwest City respectively, they met in January. The Lady Tigers got the best of the Lady Panthers 54-50. However, they would trade that for a win on Saturday. Both teams are no strangers to Championship Saturday, they won’t shy away from the spotlight of playing at the Big House.
TALE OF THE TAPE
FORT GIBSON LADY TIGERS
Championships: 3 (2011, 2013, 2014)
Road To Championship Saturday
Quarterfinals: Beat Tuttle 56-31
Semifinals: Beat Elgin 49-43
Fort Gibson has been one of the best girls programs over the last decade. However, this is their first season since the retirement of longtime head coach Jerry Walker. Chuck London took over the Fort Gibson program last summer and the Lady Tigers haven’t missed a step. Walker was about as successful as a high school coach can be when he was in charge. A new era has begun at Fort Gibson, but it looks very similar.
Player To Watch: Zoe Shieldnight – Forward
Fort Gibson has made the transition to their new coach an easy one because of the senior leadership on this team. They have several players that have plenty of experience over the last few seasons, but none have as big of an impact as forward Zoe Shieldnight. Fort Gibson takes pride in their defense and they’re not a high-scoring team. However, Shieldnight can absolutely fill it up and is an inside-outside threat for the Lady Tigers.
HARRAH LADY PANTHERS
Championships: 2 (1998, 2017)
Road To Championship Saturday
Quarterfinals: Beat Victory Christian 52-41
Semifinals: Beat Muldrow 62-50
A lot is made about this being the rematch from last year’s title game. And rightfully so. However, it can’t be overlooked that Harrah is making their third straight appearance in the 4A title game. They lost a heartbreaker to Newcastle in the 2016 title game. They followed that up with redemption by beating Fort Gibson a year ago. Now they’re back again, playing in the Big House on Championship Saturday.
Player To Watch: Erika Ankney – Guard
Harrah replaced one floor general with another one. Maddison Collyer was one of the best guards in the state a year ago. She helped lead the Lady Panthers to their championship win over Fort Gibson. But Harrah had to replace her following her graduation. It was an easy transition. ORU signee Erika Ankney has been outstanding for the Lady Panthers. She averages nearly 20 points per game and leads the Harrah attack.