By Andrew Glover
STILLWATER, Okla. —
During November and December, high school athletes trade in their football cleats for high tops as they get ready for basketball season.
Perkins-Tryon senior Matt Waitt made the transition weeks ago as the Demons were eliminated in the first round of the Class 3A state football playoffs on Nov. 15.
“The transition isn’t that bad,” Waitt said. “It’s a lot more constant sprinting and moving than football. It’s nothing that I can’t handle.”
Waitt said there isn’t a grace period for him or his other football teammates joining him on the hardwood. Coach Norman Tippeconnie expects them to be ready.
“The first couple of practices we run quite a bit to get in shape,” Waitt said. “He expects us to be ready.”
Coyle boys coach Josh Sumrall said almost all of his team plays football in the fall and it’s a process getting them into shape.
“I’m very understanding that football shape and basketball shape are different,” Sumrall said. “We use December to play into basketball shape. Hopefully we are in shape by Christmas break.”
The Bluejackets’ season also ended on Nov. 15 after losing to Davenport in the first round. Senior Ryan Weathers, who plays quarterback on the football team and guard in basketball, said he has get used to the pace.
“(Basketball) is much faster with less breaks,” Weathers said.
The senior guard said shooting comes back pretty quick but the challenge is developing chemistry with his new teammates.
“I haven’t played with a lot of them,” Weathers said. “I think by January we should be in good shape.”
Weathers is the only returning starter from Coyle’s state finals team from last season. The Bluejackets opened the season Tuesday with a 61-51 loss to Mulhall-Orlando. Tuesday’s game was the sixth for the Panthers.
Morrison sophomore Jordan Quinata and his football teammates had little time to adjust to the basketball court, as the Wildcats played their first game on Tuesday — three days after their football season ended in the state quarterfinals. The day after Morrison lost to Ringling they had basketball practice.
“It was tough because we are all sore from the game,” Quinata said. “It was hard to get motivated because we had just come off a loss.”
Quinata said Tuesday’s game was definitely an adjustment period with limited amount of practice.
“We had to get used to shooting the ball,” Quinata said. “It’s hard to get back into the groove.”
Cushing’s football players that are playing basketball had an added challenge of learning a new system, with the Tigers in their first season under coach David Day.