By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
When Callie Atkins went down early in the first quarter, the look on Stillwater High School girls basketball coach Carl Treat’s face said it all. How was he going to replace yet another injured senior?
Turns out, sophomore Lauren Stettnisch had the answer.
The 5-foot-9 forward tallied a team-high 17 points and 5 rebounds as the Lady Pioneers opened the weekend with a 48-29 win over Lawton Friday at the Pioneer Fieldhouse.
“Lauren is a really strong player,” Treat said. “Once she gets the ball we know that she’s going to make really good decisions with it. She’s a vital part of our offense now. She’s just a sophomore and she continues to improve every day. This is just the tip of the iceberg for her.
“We expect her to be able to score. She is a good scorer in the post and she makes good decisions. We’ve seen it through our scrimmages and we’ve seen it as we have gone through the season. It’s just because our injuries, she’s getting a lot more time and she’s making the most of it.”
Stillwater overcame a slow start, trailing 14-7 after one quarter thanks to a three-point play by Stettnisch to start the second quarter.
“I felt like the pressure was on for everyone to step up (after Atkins went down),” Stettnisch said. “You just have to step up and help carry the rebounds and points for the team.”
Along with Stettnisch’s three-point play, senior Austin Iven knocked down a 3-pointer with 2:06 left in the second quarter to help the Lady Pioneers (4-2) end the half on a 7-2 run, taking a 21-20 lead into the locker room at halftime.
“We just got off to a slow start, but once we figured it out everyone stepped up and did their job,” Stettnisch said. “It made it a lot easier when we were able to move the ball and get some good shots.”
The offense continued to shine in the third quarter as Stillwater, with players like freshman Dylan Fix knocking down a 3-pointer. But it was the Lady Pioneers’ ability to limit the baskets in transition that helped Stillwater outscore the Lady Wolverines 12-4 in the third quarter.
“Our offense got a lot better,” Treat said. “They scored 14 in the first quarter and only 29 in the game. Probably one-third of their offense came off our poor offense. We threw the ball to them and they were able to go down and lay it up or we didn’t block out. Early on, we didn’t do a real good job of following the scouting report and sticking to the defensive scheme that we wanted them to follow. Once they did that, we were able to see that they scored nine points the entire second half and only four points in the third quarter. I think both of those baskets came off offensive rebounds, so as you can see we played much better the second half.”
Leading big already, five straight points by Iven helped the Pioneers finish off Lawton with an 11-0 run at the end of the fourth quarter. Iven finished with 14 points and 4 assists as the only other Lady Pioneer to reach double figures.
The win may be well-earned for a Lady Pioneer squad that has seen its share of injuries in the last few weeks, but it isn’t over yet. Stillwater will face No. 19 Lawton Eisenhower at 3:30 p.m. Saturday to cap off the weekend against the Lawton schools.
“We just have to keep plugging people in and trying to find the right people to fill those spots,” Treat said. “We have the most girls out that we’ve ever had, so we knew going in that we had a lot of depth. We’ve absorbed it. Halley (Randolph) is out with an injury right now, Blake (Bulard) is out for the season and now Callie is out. That’s three girls that draw quite a bit of varsity time but we’re still able to function and follow our schemes and be competitive with that. We just have to keep doing what we’re doing.”