ADAIR, OK —
The Class 3A girls' basketball tournament this weekend figures to be one of the most exciting in the state.
Eight of the top 11 teams by ranking qualified for the final scramble for the gold ball, including all of the top five teams. Those five (Adair, Alva, Washington, Verdigris and Tahlequah Sequoyah) have combined to lose just seven games all season.
The following is a primer for the upcoming tournament
All games will be at Southern Nazarene University in Bethany except for state title game at 7:30 p.m. at the State Fairgrounds Arena in Oklahoma City Saturday.
No. 1 Adair (26-1) vs. No. 8 Hugo (21-5), Thursday, 8:30 p.m.
Adair is 7-1 against teams ranked in the top 10 in any class, with their only loss coming to Class 6A No. 5 Norman North in the Tournament of Champions title game in Tulsa in December.
Adair tore through its regular season schedule but has improbably found another gear in the postseason, swamping its opponents by an average of 40.5 points per game. Adair has two regular-season tournament trophies (Adair Invitational, Pryor Invitational) to go with district, regional and area crowns.
The Lady Warriors are definite favorites to bring home a gold ball, the school's first since 2009.
Hugo will be the first team with a chance to stop the Adair buzz-saw Thursday, but the Lady Buffaloes resume is far less decorated than the Lady Warriors'.
Hugo has some bad losses (unranked Madill, 4A's No. 18 Broken Bow), some respectable losses (5A No. 9 Edison by one, 3A state qualifier Washington last week) and some good wins (top-20 McAlester and Okemah, Class A No. 5 Caddo).
Adair should advance with little resistance to Friday's game, where it will face the winner of No. 5 Tahlequah Sequoyah (25-2) and No. 9 Heritage Hall (19-5). The Lady Indians and Lady Chargers will face off at 7 p.m.
Other Thursday games: No. 4 Verdigris (25-2) vs. No. 2 Alva (25-2), No. 11 Spiro (21-6) vs. No. 3 Washington (26-0)
Predicted semifinalists: Adair, Tahlequah Sequoyah, Verdigris and Washington
Predicted finalists: Adair and Verdigris
Predicted champion: Adair