ROFF — The seniors on this year’s Roff basketball team know about disappointment in the Class A State Tournament.

In 2004, the Tigers were a Cinderella story in Oklahoma City, slugging their way through the loser’s bracket to the state title game (before losing to Frontier), after flying largely under the radar for much of the season. Last year, Roff was a Top 5 team heading into the playoffs, but a loss in the regional tournament (a loss they later avenged in the area round) again relegated the Tigers to the loser’s bracket, and they were terrible at the free throw line in a one-point loss in the first round.

This year, minus Mitchell Trimmer (the leading scorer on the previous two state tournament teams), sharpshooting guard Johnny Hearrell and coach Larry Johnston (who went to Washington), Roff was definitely a team in transition. Surprisingly, though, that transition has been upward.

Under new coach Darrick Farriell, the Tigers were the area’s dominant boys team this season, losing only to unbeaten Stringtown, and they will head to Moore High School for the opening round of this year’s state tournament boasting the best record (27-1) in school history. After a rugged draw in the regional and area tournaments, Roff — ranked as high as second and as low as eighth in statewide polls at the end of the regular season — will go into the state tournament as the No. 2 seed in Class A and, on paper at least, facing a much easier road than top-ranked (and two-time defending state champion) Frontier.

The Tigers, who scored an emotional double-overtime victory over third-ranked New Lima in the area final Friday night before a packed house at Ada’s Cougar Activity Center, will face No. 9 Okarche at 2 p.m. Thursday, then, with a victory, would meet the winner of a 7 p.m. game between No. 5 Beaver and No. 6 Okeene in one Friday semifinal (at 7:30 p.m. at State Fair Arena).

Frontier, meanwhile, has a brutal opening-round match-up against No. 2 Pioneer (who surprisingly had to reach the state tournament out of the loser’s bracket) and, with a victory, figures to face New Lima in Friday’s second semifinal at 9 p.m. The Falcons face 12th-ranked Thomas in the second of four semifinal contests at Moore Thursday.

“Okarche has a lot of tradition, but I think they’re a pretty good draw for us,” Farriell said of the 27-4 Warriors, who beat a good Waurika club in Saturday’s area final at Chickasha. “They have more size than us, but they’re a pretty good matchup for us quickness-wise.

“Frontier got a really tough draw,” he added. “Pioneer is a really good team, and they almost beat Frontier when they played a few weeks ago.”

With only one starter (6-1 senior forward C. J. Stewart) taller than 5-11, Roff has been outsized by almost every opponent this season, but the Tigers have used an amazing work ethic, a stifling defense and some timely shooting and rebounding to repeatedly handle larger opponents.

In the regional championship game, Roff manhandled ninth-ranked Achille 50-34, then the Tigers rallied from a 40-32 deficit entering the fourth quarter against New Lima to tie the score on a late 3-pointer by senior guard Jason Trimmer and win it, 68-62, as all-state candidate Dearth Parker wrapped up his 29-point night (his fourth straight game with 21 or more points) by hitting his last 12 free throw attempts (including 10 straight in the second overttime) to seal the victory.

Despite the energy and emotion expended in Friday’s win, Farriell said he doesn’t expect to have any trouble motivating his team for Thursday’s contest.

“This team has been to the state tournament so often that they realize you can’t let down against anybody,” Farriell noted. “Everybody who makes it this far is pretty good.

“We had some games late in the year that were against teams we play all the time, and we just kind of played,” he added. “These kids were waiting for the playoffs.”

In addition to Stewart, Trimmer (who had three huge 3-pointers in the fourth quarter Friday) and Parker (who, along with the other two senior starters, played a major role in Roff’s last two state tournament appearances), Farriell has been getting an outstanding effort from juniors Atlee Kile and Patrick Blevins and from his bench, particularly Spanish exchange student Xavier Sedo and senior Glenn Cornell.

Kile had his first career double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds against New Lima, and he and Sedo (who had 13 points against Achille and seven rebounds Friday) have each scored in double figures in two of the Tigers’ last three games.

“The defense has gotten better, but our offense has also picked it up,” Farriell said. “Atlee has had some double-digit scoring games in the playoffs, and Jason hit some big shots against New Lima.

“Xavier (at 6-2) has helped us, because we get a little bigger when he’s in there, and that helps us on the boards.”

Farriell has been especially adept at devising game plans for the Tigers’ biggest contests this season (they simply didn’t hit open shots in the Stringtown loss), and he said the secret Thursday will be to get Okarche out of its comfort zone, especially on offense.

“We’ll try to prepare each of our players for his match-up and make Okarche do things that bother them and make them take shots they don’t like to take,” he said.

Although Farriell said Frontier and Beaver (who faced other in last year’s championship game) are probably the teams to beat, he added that the Tigers have enough experience and confidence to go head-to-head with any club they will see this week.

“We respect everybody, but we don’t need to fear anybody,” he added. “It’s just a game, and when you think of it as a game, it’s easier to get more relaxed and just play.

“Frontier has been there so often (12 straight trips to the state tournament) that everybody is a little scared of them,” Farriell said. “But these kids won’t be scared of Frontier. It doesn’t matter what seed you go in as, you have to play hard up there, and these kids don’t like to lose.”By BOB FORREST

Sports Writer

ROFF — The seniors on this year’s Roff basketball team know about disappointment in the Class A State Tournament.

In 2004, the Tigers were a Cinderella story in Oklahoma City, slugging their way through the loser’s bracket to the state title game (before losing to Frontier), after flying largely under the radar for much of the season. Last year, Roff was a Top 5 team heading into the playoffs, but a loss in the regional tournament (a loss they later avenged in the area round) again relegated the Tigers to the loser’s bracket, and they were terrible at the free throw line in a one-point loss in the first round.

This year, minus Mitchell Trimmer (the leading scorer on the previous two state tournament teams), sharpshooting guard Johnny Hearrell and coach Larry Johnston (who went to Washington), Roff was definitely a team in transition. Surprisingly, though, that transition has been upward.

Under new coach Darrick Farriell, the Tigers were the area’s dominant boys team this season, losing only to unbeaten Stringtown, and they will head to Moore High School for the opening round of this year’s state tournament boasting the best record (27-1) in school history. After a rugged draw in the regional and area tournaments, Roff — ranked as high as second and as low as eighth in statewide polls at the end of the regular season — will go into the state tournament as the No. 2 seed in Class A and, on paper at least, facing a much easier road than top-ranked (and two-time defending state champion) Frontier.

The Tigers, who scored an emotional double-overtime victory over third-ranked New Lima in the area final Friday night before a packed house at Ada’s Cougar Activity Center, will face No. 9 Okarche at 2 p.m. Thursday, then, with a victory, would meet the winner of a 7 p.m. game between No. 5 Beaver and No. 6 Okeene in one Friday semifinal (at 7:30 p.m. at State Fair Arena).

Frontier, meanwhile, has a brutal opening-round match-up against No. 2 Pioneer (who surprisingly had to reach the state tournament out of the loser’s bracket) and, with a victory, figures to face New Lima in Friday’s second semifinal at 9 p.m. The Falcons face 12th-ranked Thomas in the second of four semifinal contests at Moore Thursday.

“Okarche has a lot of tradition, but I think they’re a pretty good draw for us,” Farriell said of the 27-4 Warriors, who beat a good Waurika club in Saturday’s area final at Chickasha. “They have more size than us, but they’re a pretty good matchup for us quickness-wise.

“Frontier got a really tough draw,” he added. “Pioneer is a really good team, and they almost beat Frontier when they played a few weeks ago.”

With only one starter (6-1 senior forward C. J. Stewart) taller than 5-11, Roff has been outsized by almost every opponent this season, but the Tigers have used an amazing work ethic, a stifling defense and some timely shooting and rebounding to repeatedly handle larger opponents.

In the regional championship game, Roff manhandled ninth-ranked Achille 50-34, then the Tigers rallied from a 40-32 deficit entering the fourth quarter against New Lima to tie the score on a late 3-pointer by senior guard Jason Trimmer and win it, 68-62, as all-state candidate Dearth Parker wrapped up his 29-point night (his fourth straight game with 21 or more points) by hitting his last 12 free throw attempts (including 10 straight in the second overttime) to seal the victory.

Despite the energy and emotion expended in Friday’s win, Farriell said he doesn’t expect to have any trouble motivating his team for Thursday’s contest.

“This team has been to the state tournament so often that they realize you can’t let down against anybody,” Farriell noted. “Everybody who makes it this far is pretty good.

“We had some games late in the year that were against teams we play all the time, and we just kind of played,” he added. “These kids were waiting for the playoffs.”

In addition to Stewart, Trimmer (who had three huge 3-pointers in the fourth quarter Friday) and Parker (who, along with the other two senior starters, played a major role in Roff’s last two state tournament appearances), Farriell has been getting an outstanding effort from juniors Atlee Kile and Patrick Blevins and from his bench, particularly Spanish exchange student Xavier Sedo and senior Glenn Cornell.

Kile had his first career double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds against New Lima, and he and Sedo (who had 13 points against Achille and seven rebounds Friday) have each scored in double figures in two of the Tigers’ last three games.

“The defense has gotten better, but our offense has also picked it up,” Farriell said. “Atlee has had some double-digit scoring games in the playoffs, and Jason hit some big shots against New Lima.

“Xavier (at 6-2) has helped us, because we get a little bigger when he’s in there, and that helps us on the boards.”

Farriell has been especially adept at devising game plans for the Tigers’ biggest contests this season (they simply didn’t hit open shots in the Stringtown loss), and he said the secret Thursday will be to get Okarche out of its comfort zone, especially on offense.

“We’ll try to prepare each of our players for his match-up and make Okarche do things that bother them and make them take shots they don’t like to take,” he said.

Although Farriell said Frontier and Beaver (who faced other in last year’s championship game) are probably the teams to beat, he added that the Tigers have enough experience and confidence to go head-to-head with any club they will see this week.

“We respect everybody, but we don’t need to fear anybody,” he added. “It’s just a game, and when you think of it as a game, it’s easier to get more relaxed and just play.

“Frontier has been there so often (12 straight trips to the state tournament) that everybody is a little scared of them,” Farriell said. “But these kids won’t be scared of Frontier. It doesn’t matter what seed you go in as, you have to play hard up there, and these kids don’t like to lose.”

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