Sapulpa tops Tahlequah for 5th title
TULSA — As soon as the gold ball touched her hands, Temira Poindexter wouldn’t set it down.
Sapulpa’s senior star has been working to have a chance to hold the trophy her entire career. Saturday, she earned her chance.
Top-ranked Sapulpa took control early and topped No. 2 Tahlequah 58-49. Poindexter was a big reason why Sapulpa was able to clinch its fifth state championship in school history. She scored 17 points to lead all scorers, grabbed 12 re bounds, has five assists, three blocks and two steals.
“She has been amazing,” Sapulpa coach Darlean Calip said. “She has really grown this year, not only as a player but probably more so as a person. We have demanded so much responsibility from her because she has the potential to do that. We rode her all the way to the championship.”
Sapulpa got off to a quick start, leading 9-2 within a matter of minutes. Freshman Tyla Heard scored seven of those points, and Tahlequah was searching for answers on defense.
In the latter half of the quarter, Tahlequah was able to hit a couple jumpers and shrink the deficit to three heading to the second quarter.
In the second and third quarters, however, Sapulpa (19-3 overall) took control. The Chieftains outscored Tahlequah 31-19 in the middle quarters and took a commanding lead.
Calip admitted her and her coaching staff initially struggled adjusting to scouting Class 5A competition after dropping classifications this year. Sapulpa continued to play a 6A-heavy schedule, and that paid off.
“That was hard to adjust to, but our kids made it a lot easier for us,” Calip said.
Sophomore Stailee Heard added 14 points and nine rebounds while senior Alexis Lewis poured in 10 points and seven board.
Tahlequah’s Tatum Havens and Lydia McAlvain each tallied 10 points. As a team, Tahlequah (23-3) shot only 37.5% from the field and 23.5% from deep.
For Poindexter, who held the championship trophy until she walked off the court, it was a perfect ending to her high school career.
“It means a lot,” Poindexter said. “Last year got cut off, but this year, we finally finished it off.”