MIAMI — There’s an intriguing first-round matchup in the 71st annual Northeastern A&M High School Basketball Tournament.
Roland, ranked 12th in Class 4A meets 5A No. 10 Claremore in a 6 p.m. Boys Gold clash Thursday, Jan. 18 at the NEO Field House.
The tournament runs Jan. 18-20 at three Miami locations: the NEO Field House, the Glen Wolfe Student Activity Center and the Miami Activity Center.
Roland has made the finals 26 times in the 45 years the Rangers have played in the tournament, winning 15 titles and placing second another 11.
The first time Roland played in the NEO hoopsfest was 1969.
Roland’s last title was in 2012 when the Rangers topped Southwest Missouri 63-55.
They made the finals in last year’s tournament, losing 57-55 to Tulsa McLain.
Roland’s NEO titles include 2014, 2013, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2002, 2000, 1993, 1991, 1984, 1981, 1976 and 1975.
In addition to 2017, Roland has been a runner-up in 2014, 2013, 1999, 1998, 1995, 1988, 1982, 1979, 1977 and 1973.
This will be the first ever appearance in the NEO Tournament for the Zebras but not their first trip to Miami.
Claremore was a charter member of the Six Lakes and Metro Lakes Conferences with MHS.
The Zebras and Wardogs met on the hardwoods since at least the 1925-26 season according to News-Record archives.
The rivalry went on the back burner when Miami dropped down to Class 4A then moved to the Verdigris Valley Conference.
Hulbert is in the tournament for the first time since 1988 and Grove returns after a four-year absence.
Girls teams in the field that were include in the most recent (Dec. 18) ossaarankings.com poll are Edmond North, 6A No. 15; Claremore, 5A No. 10; Tulsa Rogers, 5A No. 13, and Roland, 4A No. 18.
Miami, Tulsa McLain, Green Country Defenders JV, Green Country Defenders, Grove and Tulsa Rogers also are in the Boys Gold bracket.
Wyandotte, Cave Springs, Quapaw, Nowata, Bluejacket, Roland JV, Fairland and Hulbert are in the Boys Blue bracket.
The Boys Norse bracket includes Commerce, Watts, Afton, Chetopa, Kansas, Braggs, South Coffeyville, Welch and Tulsa Wright Christian.
Edmond North, Tulsa McLain, Miami, Roland, Tulsa Rogers, Coweta, Grove and the Green Country Defenders make up the Girls Gold bracket.
The Girls Norse bracket includes Quapaw, Watts, Cave Springs, Fairland, Commerce, Joplin Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School, Braggs and South Coffeyville.
Lucky 7 Conference rivals Welch, Afton, Wyandotte and Bluejacket are in the Girls Blue bracket, along with Wright Christian, Hulbert, Chetopa and Nowata.