By Derek Brown
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The Pioneers have played six of their 23 regular season games already. But one thing will be much different about the Stillwater-Southeast game at 8 p.m. Friday — the Pioneers will be on their own court.
No. 15 ranked Stillwater has been riding a wave of success that centers around team basketball. The Pioneers look to continue that trend in their home opener against Class 5A No. 10 ranked Southeast.
“We want to continue to build on the things that we’ve been building on, playing together as a team and playing unselfish basketball,” Stillwater coach Michael Davis said. “We can’t get caught up in who’s doing what just as long as we are doing it together as a team.”
Southeast has only been on the court twice because of weather. The Spartans opened up at Milwood and won a tight one 71-70. They then had the Durant Tournament canceled and had to postpone a game. The second time Southeast got on the court they played Northeast Academy and fell 61-57.
“Every night we play somebody it’s a game. They’re probably really athletic. We’re just a hard-nosed grind it out type,” Davis said. “We just have to play smart.”
The Pioneers have just six games at home this season compared to having 17 road games.
“Our goal every year is to win all of our home games,” Davis said.
Stillwater has won all of its regular season home games in the last few years. The last time the Pioneers played at home they fell in the regional finals.
“We pride ourselves on playing really good at home,” Davis said.
The Pioneers feel they have something of quality to watch. The Oklahoma State basketball teams will be out of Oklahoma and the other Stillwater High sports are off, which gives one thing for spectators to watch – Stillwater basketball.
“We hope that people will want to come out and watch a very exciting team,” Davis said. “We hope the town will come out and see them.”
The home crowd might just give the Lady Pioneers the motivation they need.
Stillwater has started the new season somewhat rough. The girls are 2-4 coming into their first home game of the year.
“This has been a crazy year that we have played this many games and haven’t had a home game yet,” Stillwater coach Clay Stephens said. “They seem excited. I think we’re ready.”
The first year Stillwater coach will experience his first game in the Stillwater gym at 6:30 p.m. Friday night.
“As a basketball coach you want to play as much as you can at home. One for the home-court advantage and two you have your home crowd with you and you don’t have to travel. There’s lots of positives there,” Stephens said. “I hope we have a good crowd and it all plays out the way we hope it does.”
Stillwater snapped a three-game skid on Dec. 14 agaisnt Glendale, Ark., in the Bixby Invitational. The Lady Pioneers hope to make it two wins a row. If they are able to grab a victory at home it will be the first time they have won back-to-back games this year.
Southeast has played just two games this year, both losses. Southeast lost to Millwood 44-31 and Northeast Academy 60-43. Stillwater will not overlook Southeast by any means.
“Our main concern is focusing on us,” Stephens said. “Right now we’re mainly focused on what we’re trying to do.”
The Lady Pioneers’ focus will not be on what Southeast is capable of doing. Instead, Stillwater wants to worry about itself.
“We need to limit our turnovers. That’s been our Achilles heel up to this point is turnovers,” Stephens said. “We’re going to try to play a little better defense. Offensively we’ve been playing fairly well.”