ENID, Okla. — Merric Judd couldn’t have asked for a better 18th birthday Saturday as he earned Cherokee Strip Tournament MVP honors after leading Timberlake to a 59-38 win over Ringwood for the Tigers’ first CS tournament crown since 2018.

Lomega’s girls routed Cherokee, 72-32 for their eighth-straight tournament championship behind 27 points from girls tournament MVP Abby Swart.

Judd had 20 points as the Tigers avenged their only loss of the season (47-40 on Dec. 16) in winning their eighth straight game.

Timberlake led 29-24 at halftime but was able to separate thanks to a spread out offense.

“The last time we played them we were up by 12 at halftime, but we made some poor decisions and didn’t play smart on offense,” said Timberlake coach Kale Pierce. “Today, we did just the opposite. We made great decisions. We’re a hard time to match up with when we spread out the floor. We did all the little things you have to do to beat a good team like that.”

Coach Pierce said the Red Devils were effective in challenging the Tigers’ outside shots in the first half. They were able to go to the delay game from having the lead.

“When we spread them out, we forced them to play our game, which worked out well,” he said. “We scored more off that than the rest of the offense. We did a much better job getting the ball to the rim.”

Avery Wallace, who had 15 points, joined Judd on the all-tournament team. Chase Pierce had 11 points.

“I didn’t know it was his (Judd’s) birthday until after the game,” coach Pierce said. “It was a good day for him.”

The win gave Timberlake a sweep of its three tournaments — Pond Creek-Hunter, Cherokee and the Cherokee Strip. It was only the school’s second conference tournament title since the Jet-Nash and Helena-Goltry school districts merged to form the school.

“This means a lot,” coach Pierce said. “By how we put it away today, it shows that they are buying in and trusting each other as a unit. All the work they have put in is paying off.”

Jaxon Meyer led Ringwood with 11 points, while Rowdy Schmidt had 10. Both joined Wallace on the all-tournament team with the Lomega duo of Lance Yost and Owen Duffy.


The Lady Raiders delivered an early KO by starting the game with a 21-4 spurt, behind the long distance shooting of Swart, who had six treys on the night and 20 of her 27 points at halftime.

“The girls did a good job of coming out early and getting ahead,” said Lady Raiders coach Kevin Lewallen. “We didn’t play real good in the second half, but our play as far as the first half was concerned was as good as it’s been in a while. We got some easy looks and shot it pretty well.”

Lomega had 10 treys in leading 51-21 at halftime as part of an aggressive game plan.

“We had the pace that we wanted,” Lewallen said. “We wanted to play quick and get out in transition and move it and get the open shot. We did a good job of that throughout the tournament. We didn’t do a good job of that early in the season but the last couple of weeks we have been doing a lot better job of getting out in transition.”

Darcy Roberts was the other Lady Raider in double figures with 12 points, but was even more effective as a passer, Lewallen said.

The Lady Raiders have won 24 straight tournament games. The 2022 senior class was in the fourth grade the last time Lomega didn’t win.

“It’s big for us,” Lewallen said. “I like playing here at Pioneer. The gym was packed and it was loud. The environment helps get you ready for the playoffs. Our seniors have had a good run in this tournament.”

Abby Guffy led Cherokee (10-7) with 11 points.

Swart and Guffy were joined on the all-tournament team by Carson Schanbacher of Cherokee, Aowyn Seek of Kremlin-Hillsdale and Syndi Walker and Roberts of Lomega.

In consolation games :


Third place — Kremlin-Hillsdale 40, Burlington 37 — Aowyn Seek had 15 points to pace the Lady Broncs, who held off a late Burlington charge. Jaedyn Williams and Hallie Hamilton led the Lady Elks with 14 and 12 points.

Consolation finals — Timberlake 50, Medford 19 — Henzley Thomas hit five treys in a 17-point effort to lead the Lady Tigers. Jayda Kilian had nine points for the Lady Cardinals.

7th place — Ringwood 34, DCLA 28 — Kinley Johnson’s 10 points lifted the Lady Devils over the Lady Eagles.


Third place: Lomega 62, Burlington 41 — The Raiders raised their record to 14-5 in beating the Elks for the second time this season.

Fifth place: Kremlin-Hillsdale 53, Medford 47 — David Granburg scored 18 points to pace a Bronc comeback. Medford led 19-8 after the first period, but the Broncs took the lead for good with a 19-3 second quarter spurt. Eli Gonzales led the Cardinals with 16 points.

7th place: Cherokee 48, DCLA 34 — Cherokee broke a four-game losing streak behind 15 points from Jaydan Petersen and 12 from Kolby Roberts. Dawson Scott had 18 for DCLA, including five three-pointers.

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Campbell is a former sports writer and current part-time writer for the News & Eagle.

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Graduate of Oklahoma City John Marshall (1972) and University of Oklahoma. Been at News & Eagle since June 19, 1978. Previously worked at Oklahoma Journal, Midland, Texas Reporter & Telegram, Norman Transcript, Elk City Daily News

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