The Ada High School girls basketball team will compete in two prestigious and unique tournaments during the first month of its 2022-23 season.

First, the Lady Cougars will be a part of the 2022 Sequoyah Invitational Tournament scheduled for Dec. 8-10 in Tahlequah.

That tournament will take place in Sequoyah's Place Where They Pace in Tahlequah.

Then, the Ada girls will be the host team during the 2022 Bertha Frank Teague Mid-America Classic scheduled for Dec. 29-30 inside East Central University's Kerr Activities Center.

SEQUOYAH INVITATIONAL

The Lady Cougars will be representing the Chickasaw Nation in Tahlequah.

"We have a very busy and exciting December. We are honored to have been asked to play in the inaugural Sequoyah Invitational Tournament. To be representing The Chickasaw Nation is a special privilege and honor," Ada head coach Christie Jennings told The Ada News. "Not only do we have many Chickasaw Citizens on our team, we all feel the positive impact on a daily basis of what The Chickasaw Nation does for our community and school."

The tournament is loaded with not only some of the best Native American teams from the state but a few from outside of Oklahoma.

"Our vision for this tournament is to showcase as many Native American schools/teams as possible in fellowship and competition with each other," said Sequoyah-Tahlequah principal Justin Brown in a letter to participating teams.

Other Bureau of Indian Education teams and the tribes they will represent include host Sequoyah High School (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Tribally-Controlled B.I.E.), Riverside Indian School in Anadarko (B.I.E.), Cherokee High School in Cherokee, North Carolina (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Tribally-Controlled B.I.E.), and Choctaw Central High School in Choctaw, Mississippi (Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians).

Other schools with significant Native American student populations include Muldrow from the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Berryhill from the Muscogee Creek Nation of Oklahoma, and Howe from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

"We believe this tournament will be a great experience for our student-athletes, schools, tribes, B.I.E., and the public. Our Native schools and students are among the best in the United States. We believe the interaction with each other and positive exposure will benefit all," Brown said.

Ada is scheduled to meet Berryhill at 1 p.m. on Dec. 8 in a first-round matchup. Cherokee and Riverside are on Ada's side of the bracket.

MID-AMERICA CLASSIC

The Mid-America Classic and Bertha Frank Teague — the legendary Byng coach it's named after — have always been special to Jennings, who has participated in the tournament as a player, an assistant coach and a head coach.

"Mid-America is something that is close to my heart," she said. "I love girls' basketball, and I love the girls' basketball community. Growing up as a player at Byng, I saw firsthand the impact that Mrs. Teague had on the game of basketball. Without Mrs. Teague, I might not be in my position today. She was a trendsetter, a ceiling breaker and a role model."

The annual holiday girls tournament also includes Georgetown, Texas, Carl Albert, Tuttle, Bethel, Caddo, Frontier and Pittsburg.

The bracket for the Mid-America Classic has not been released yet.

Ada will be making its first trip to the tournament since 2016.

"Playing in this tournament is not only an opportunity to play great basketball competition, but It's also a chance to show my girls an example of how one determined woman impacted the entire game of basketball," Jennings said. 

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Jeff Cali has been covering sports in the Ada area since the mid-90s. He graduated from Byng High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from East Central University.

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