By Andrew Glover
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The Coyle Bluejackets basketball team had state in its sights last season, as they finished one victory short. With most of its talent returning, Coyle looks to make that its destination in 2013.
“I got four starters back and a whole slew of freshmen,” coach Josh Sumrall said.
The Bluejackets have a lot of size including 6-6 Tony Aska.
“I think he is the best player in the state,” Sumrall said. “We have a couple of 6-4 (players) playing for us.”
Sumrall also said he has a strong backcourt with guards Fidel Simpson and Ryan Weathers. Sumrall said his team is deep.
“We are going to run up and down the court and play uptempo like Coyle has traditionally,” Sumrall said. “We are going to pressure our opponents.”
Sumrall said his team has a tough conference with Ripley, Agra and Muhall-Orlando.
“It’s pretty competitive,” Sumrall said. “If we stay healthy, I think we got one of the deepest teams. We have a freshman class coming up that was undefeated as eighth-graders. They will have to adjust to the high school level and some pick it up quicker than others.”
On Nov. 28, the Bluejackets will get to take on Ripley on the floor of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Chesapeake Arena.
The Frontier Mustangs are also looking at making a run to the state tournament after losing in the area tournament last season. Coach Bob Weckstein said his team is young this season.
“We only have one returning starter, Landon Norman,” Weckstein said. “The only other player on our team that has experience is sophomore Talon Harris. We have sophomore Roy Childs that didn’t have experience last year but will start.”
Weckstein said his team will learn on the fly as it plays a challenging schedule.
“Preston is really good,” Weckstein said. “Tonkawa is going to be good. We are hosting a good tournament.”
The Yale Bulldogs will look to build off of last year that ended in the area tournament with a 24-7 record.
“We lost some pretty good seniors,” coach Rocky Kennedy said. “We got some kids playing that we are happy about.”
Junior Brady Eberhart started last season and averaged 13 points per game. Junior Konner Fowler missed time due to injury but averaged 9 to 10 points per game. Kennedy said his team wants to go as far as it can.
“One of our goals every year is to make the state tournament,” Kennedy said. “It’s not an easy task. We got some good teams on the schedule.”
The Perkins-Tryon Demons return three starters from a team that reached the area tournament last season.
Garrett Dollins, Cody Waitt and Caleb White return. Coach Norman Tippeconnie said his team will have some size.
“We are a little bigger,” Tippeconnie said. “We have two kids that should contribute. We should have as good of a season if not better than last year.”
Tippeconnie said the key for his team is defense and rebounding.
“I have no doubt that we can score,” Tippeconnie said. “It’s hard to outscore someone. I think if we can defend and rebound well we should be competitive.”
The Perry Maroons look to get past districts this season with three starters returning.
The team returns Shahen Turner, Weston Ward and Kale Hixon. Coach Brandon Hight said he’s seen a lot of improvement in Turner.
“I think he has made the biggest improvement,” Hight said. “We look for him to be a scoring threat.”
Hight said he hopes to see Perry advance farther than last season.
“We want to make the area tournament with a chance to go to state,” Hight said. “We will be counting on our seniors and look for our younger players to improve.”
The Cushing Tigers look to improve on a 9-13 season that ended in the regional tournament.
Cushing has four starters and its sixth man returning. Junior Jai Conley started part-time last season at point guard. Juniors Keegan Myers, Drew Wilson, Senior Nick Tanner and Senior Bingham Hightower also return. Coach Bobby Tanner said he has a big lineup and an improved team.
“We expect we are going to get our fair share of wins,” Tanner said. “We are much improved.”