By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
A little over a month into the basketball season, having two weeks off seems like the most inopportune time for a break. Just as things are starting to flow, they come to a grinding halt for the holidays.
But for the Stillwater High School girls basketball team, the two-week break came at the perfect time.
“We’ve had a little bit of a break and it allowed us to focus on our conditioning and the things that we’ve done well,” Stillwater coach Carl Treat said. “It allowed us to add a few wrinkles and take some time to work on our fundamentals, but it also let us take some time to rest up and spend time with our families.”
Now the Lady Pioneers (5-3) hope that rest and recuperation pays off as they face Edmond North (2-6) to open the second half of the season at 6:30 p.m. Friday in the Pioneer Fieldhouse.
Stillwater did have a little momentum after beating Bishop McGuinness in overtime and the Lady Pioneers hope to carry that momentum throughout the next two months.
“Most of that momentum is gone, but the win over McGuinness did allow us to gain some confidence,” Treat said. “We were able to look at that game and see some of the positive things we did and build on those things during the break. Now we have to get back to work and do those same things against Edmond North.”
That’s easier said than done.
The Lady Huskies’ record may not show it, but Edmond North has the size and athleticism to give Stillwater fits.
“They’re a very athletic team that’s defense oriented,” Treat said. “They execute well on offense and are tough on the boards. In fact, they’re a lot like us. They had some girls get hurt who will be back in their lineup, so they’re going to give us all sorts of challenges.”
Edmond North may have a slight size advantage, but the Lady Pioneers got a big boost this week when senior Callie Atkins returned from an injury that sidelined her for nearly a month.
“We got Callie back so that will definitely help us when it comes to experience,” Treat said. “It’s also a new year and our legs are going to be fresh. Typically, in the past seasons this is the point where we start having a lot of success. But we’ve already had a lot of success this season, so I’m hoping to continue that trend of playing well in January.
“If your remember last year the month of January was when we really turned things around. I can’t remember what our record was, but it was right around this time where we really start making a playoff push. A lot of that is because we have a bunch of kids that continue to work hard over the winter break to get better.”
The real question is do the Lady Pioneers have what it takes to make another late playoff push?
If you ask Treat, it all starts with Friday’s game against the Lady Huskies.
“This is a really big game for us,” Treat said. “They’re a tough Class 6A school and after that we have the Ada Tournament, which is always very competitive. We’re going to be challenged right off the bat, but we’re going to try to pick up as many things as we can along the way. We’re young and still learning but we have a lot of multi-sport athletes that are starting to get their basketball legs again. They’re starting to understand the concepts we’re throwing at them and we feel very confident about the second half of the season.”