By Andrew Glover
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Last year, Perkins-Tryon post McKenzie Stanford didn’t get to play basketball because she transferred from Cushing.
“My mom was over at her parents all the time to take care of her mom, so we moved to be closer to them,” Stanford said. “Cushing fought my hardship all the way.”
This year, most opponents of the Perkins-Tryon Lady Demons focus on their star forward Jordan Gorham. While eyes are on Gorham, Stanford has emerged as another offensive threat at post.
“(Stanford) can shoot it,” coach Jerry Burnett said. “She just needs to play the game and let it come to her.”
Stanford started for Cushing in her freshman and sophomore year. Now that she is playing for its rival, she said she enjoys it.
“It was definitely a big deal when I moved,” Stanford said. “I love Perkins.”
This past weekend, Stanford played a key role in clinching the 66 conference title for P-T. In Thursday’s semifinals, Stanford scored 14 points and grabbed four rebounds in a 58-33 victory. In the championship on Saturday against Prague, Stanford scored 21 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in a 40-18 victory.
Thirteen of Stanford’s 21 was in the second half. Burnett said sometimes Stanford can over analyze the play. The senior post said she was motivated by Burnett at halftime.
“Coach talked to me at halftime and told me what I was doing wrong,” Stanford said. “I went out there and fixed it. I came up and hit those two (3-pointers).”
Prague was effective in limiting the production of Gorham, holding her to just 10 points and five rebounds. Burnett said it’s pretty common for opponents to key on Gorham, emphasizing it’s key to have players like Stanford step up.
“Good teams aren’t going to let you do what you want to do,” Burnett said. “You got to have other kids step up and we were able to do that.”
Stanford said she tries to help divert opponents’ attention from Gorham.
“If a team comes out and stops one of us, we rely on the other to do their job,” Gorham said. “So far this year we have.”
Stanford’s playing career could extend past high school as several colleges are looking at her.
“She has a lot of looks from JUCOs and NAIA schools,” Burnett said. “She’s still trying to decide.”
Stanford said it’s exciting to have people wanting her talents.
“I didn’t get to play last year because my hardship was denied,” Stanford said. “I didn’t have any stats and it was hard for schools to get interested. Now that my name is out there it’s exciting.”
After winning the 66 conference tournament, the Lady Demons are 18-0 and ranked second in class 3A by OKRankings.com.
“I couldn’t ask for a better team,” Stanford said. “We’re there for each other through the ups and downs. There’s no drama on this team. Everyone is for everyone.”
Jake Lazenby, Glencoe
Jordan Gorham, Perkins-Tryon
Kylie Ladd, Ripley
Brady Eberhart, Yale
Brett Thomas, Yale