By Andrew Glover
GLENCOE, Okla. —
Last season the Glencoe Panthers were among the best in Class A as they reached the quarterfinals in the state basketball tournament. With most of their players returning, the Panthers are poised to return to state.
“We lost my son John (Lazenby), who was an All-Stater,” coach John Lazenby said. “We will miss him. We return Kagen Castlebury who averaged 13 points per game. My other son Jake is back and he averaged 10. Hunter Hall is a sophomore this year and he averaged 11. My other son Ty is a sophomore and he averaged 15.”
Glencoe finished the season 26-4, before falling to Weleetka. This year, the Panthers have four of their five starters returning and six of their top seven players. Glencoe will have strong upper classmen leadership with three seniors and five juniors. Lazenby said he feels good about his team.
“A junior and two seniors round out our top seven,” Lazenby said. “We have a move-in that’s a junior that should help us. We should be right back in the mix of Class A.”
Glencoe’s schedule doesn’t start with too many challenges as their first three opponents — Olive, Paden and Shidler went a combined 21-48 last season. Glencoe’s slate gets tougher later in the season.
“We play Frontier in our fourth game at Red Rock, they are a perennial state powerhouse,” Lazenby said. “Later in the season we play at Pawnee, they made the playoffs under Coach (David) Page. ... We play at Morrison with Coach (Cory) Bales taking over and he will have them ready to play. We play at Kiefer, they are a big 2A school.”
The Panthers are going to two tournaments in Luther (Dec. 6-8) and Earlsboro (Jan. 10-12). Glencoe will also host a tournament Jan. 24-26. Lazenby said there will be quality competition.
“We play in the Luther tournament in December,” coach said. “We will be going against 2A, 3A and 4A teams. ... Our tournament will be good and competitive. Yale is in it, they are very good. Southwest Covenant is good and return a lot. Luther is a 2A team by the (Oklahoma) City. It’s the strongest field we’ve had in a long time.”
Last season, Glencoe had no problem putting points on the board but at times struggled keeping its opponents off the scoreboard. Lazenby said that’s something his team will have to shore up to go farther than last season.
“We had the most explosive offense in Class A,” Lazenby said. “The problem was we don’t defend as well. I told our players that should be an insult to them to hear people say ‘Glencoe can score but can’t play defense.’ We talked about taking more pride in our defense. I told the guys in the state tournament the scores get lower and possessions get more important. There’s more ball control. It’s going to be hard to just outscore someone.”