ROFF — Despite their 23-1 record, the Roff Tigers remain a complete mystery to most observers of Oklahoma high school basketball this season.

Point in fact: after their 61-44 loss to unbeaten Stringtown on Jan. 30, the Tigers plunged from No. 3 to No. 8 in the CoachesAid rankings, but they have actually moved up a spot — from No. 3 to No. 2 — in the Daily Oklahoman top 20.

And, despite their gaudy record and lofty ranking, first-year coach Darrick Farriell and his club seemed to get very little respect from the folks who drew up the playoff brackets for Class A. Roff faces arguably the toughest road through the regional and area rounds of any Top 8 team, beginning with Thursday’s regional opener against 18-5 Rock Creek (No. 19 in the Oklahoman poll, unranked in CoachesAid) at 8 p.m. at Atoka.

With a victory, Roff will move on to a regional championship showdown at 8 p.m. Saturday against the winner of Thursday’s marque match-up at Crowder between 11th-ranked Crowder (23-2) and 10th-ranked Achille (24-1). If the Tigers survive their tough regional draw, they will advance to Ada’s Cougar Activity Center for the area tournament the following weekend.

“Considering our ranking, we have the toughest regional and area draw of anybody in Class A,” said Farriell, who took the McCurtain girls and boys squads to the Class B state tournament last season. “But I think it’s good for us to play tough competition. That way, if we get to the state tournament, nobody can say we didn’t deserve it.”

Individually, the Tigers shouldn’t strike fear in anybody. Top to bottom, the Roff starting lineup is one of the least imposing physically of any top 10 team in any class in the state. Farriell has one of Class A’s best players in 5-10 senior guard Dearth Parker, but 6-1 C. J. Stewart is his only starter taller than 5-11.

“Nobody is impressed when they look at us, because we’re so small, but I don’t think anybody can help but be impressed with these kids if they watch them play,” Farriell said.

Other than their loss at Stringtown to a team with a front line that averages 6-7 and whose guards are both taller than Stewart, the Tigers have been a dominant team all season. They swept a good Latta club this (a team that started 6-5 Isaac Vandever and 6-6 Jeremi Correll), they boast three wins over a solid Tupelo squad, they destroyed Mill Creek (a team that finished the regular season 18-5), 94-27, and they have also manhandled good teams from Allen and Stonewall.

“I don’t think we have anything to prove,” Farriell said. “These kids have been to the state tournament the past two years, and they’ve only lost once this season.”

In Rock Creek, Roff will face a team that is a carbon copy of the Tigers, relying more on quickness and shooting than on height.

“They have a lot of quick kids, they attack the basket, and they have some good 3-point shooters,” Farriell said. “That helps us with match-ups, because we can put pressure on the perimeter and don’t have to sag back and protect the middle.”

Farriell said he has also been impressed with Achille, a team that wasn’t ranked in preseason but climbed into the CoachesAid top 10 in the season’s final poll, but he added that he expects to play Crowder Saturday if his club can win Thursday.

“Achille is really, really good, but I’m going to give Crowder the edge because they have a big post kid (senior Terrence Hodge) who can be a dominant player, and they’re at home,” he noted.

If Crowder is Roff’s Saturday opponent, Farriell said 6-10 senior Rickey Thompson — used sparingly for a variety of reasons this season — could be a key for the Tigers.

“Rickey will have to come in and give us some minutes against the big kid if we play Crowder,” Farriell said of Thompson, who is coming back from a dislocated knee he suffered early last month. “We scrimmaged Tushka Monday, and he had a really good day.

“He’s getting back in shape, but it’s been a process,” Farriell added. “There was a while there when the doctors wouldn’t let him do anything at all.”

Like the Tigers (who beat Fox, 85-42, Saturday to capture their district), the Roff girls won a district title Saturday, beating Fox, 36-28. The Lady Tigers will face Rattan (6-14) — a 44-22 winner over Rock Creek Saturday — in a winner’s bracket contest at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Atoka and, with a win, would advance to a regional final match-up Saturday with the winner of Thursday’s game between third-ranked Crowder (24-1) and Caddo (17-5) at Crowder.

Crowder clobbered Canadian 79-41 in the district round, while Caddo edged Achille, 33-30, Saturday.

The tough-luck award among area Class A squads goes to the Allen Lady Mustangs, who unexpectedly lost to Indianola in their district title game and, as a result, will host eighth-ranked New Lima in a regional elimination contest at 1:30 p.m. Thursday that almost nobody expected. New Lima, one of the favorites in Class A, was upset 65-64 by Weleekta Saturday to fall to 23-3 on the season and drop into the loser’s bracket. Allen is led by senior Kelsey Gee, arguably the area’s best female player.

Allen’s boys won their district title with a 50-36 victory over a good Stuart team, but their reward is a winner’s bracket showdown with third-ranked New Lima at 8 p.m. at Allen. The Mustangs (14-10) are led by one of the area’s top backcourt players, junior Brandon Postoak, while New Lima has an all-state candidate in Ryan Gibbs and one of Class A’s best guard tandems in brothers Colten and Brett Brooksher.

Like the Roff boys, the Stonewall Lady Longhorns (24-1 and ranked No. 4 in Class A) face a potential regional roadblock in No. 6 Davenport (21-2) if the two teams meet as expected in Saturday night’s final (6:30 p.m.) at Macomb. Christie Jennings’ club, which dismantled Stratford 76-27 to win the district title and is led by one of the area’s top players in junior Felicia Logsdon, will host Bray-Doyle (13-9) in a regional winner’s bracket contest at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Stonewall’s boys, meanwhile, were beaten 62-52 by No. 13 Stratford in their district title game, sending the Longhorns into a loser’s bracket contest with Bray-Doyle (11-11) at 3 p.m. Thursday. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, will welcome back senior forward Jeremy Lavorchek (ineligible for the district round) for Thursday’s winner’s bracket contest with No. 19 Waurika (21-2) — a 66-50 winner over Bray-Doyle Saturday — at 8 p.m. at Stonewall.

With a victory, Stratford (19-3) and boasting the area’s leading scorer in guard Garan Qualls, will move on to a regional championship showdown at 8 p.m. Saturday at Macomb with the winner of Thursday’s winner’s bracket contest between ninth-ranked Okarche (21-3) and No. 14 Varnum (22-3).

In Class B, the Tupelo boys and girls both face loser’s bracket games Thursday after suffering losses to highly-ranked teams from Pittsburg in a tough district round. The Tigers (17-9 with six of their losses to Roff, Stringtown and Pittsburg) are led by hard-nosed forward sophomore Cameron Mann and will host Moss (17-9) at 3 p.m, while the 20th-ranked Lady Tigers (18-8 after winning only eight games last season) have one of the area’s best 1-2 scoring combos in junior Kendra Pearce and sophomore Katie Campbell and will meet Bowlegs (17-8) at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, also at Tupelo.

In other games involving Class B area boys teams Thursday, Mill Creek (18-6) will face Wapanucka (12-15) in a boys loser’s bracket game at 3 p.m. at Coleman, and Asher (3-23) will meet Caney (8-12) in another loser’s bracket contest at 3 p.m. at Kiowa.

Class B girls action has Wanette (7-15) facing Caney (10-10) in a loser’s bracket game at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Kiowa.

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