By Andrew Glover
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Some high schools will look to defend their record while others are just looking to improve as they enter tournaments Thursday through Saturday.
The Pawnee Black Bears (12-0), ranked seventh in Class 2A according to OKRankings.com, puts its undefeated season on the line in the NOC Tournament. Coach David Page said it will be good competition.
“We need it,” Page said. “Our schedule has been kind of down this year.”
The Black Bears open with Ponca City JV 8 p.m. Thursday at Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa, and then play either Cleveland (4-9) or Mannford (7-7). Page said either school would test his team.
“They could give us trouble,” Page said. “Hopefully we will pull through and have Tonkawa in the finals.”
The Ripley Lady Warriors (17-1) are the top seed in the Kiefer Tournament and open with Prue at 7 p.m. Thursday. Coach Doug Scott said it’s nice to have the top seed but hopes his team can finish with it.
“We are going to have to play well on Friday and Saturday,” Scott said. “There’s four to five quality teams in this tournament.”
Scott said he hopes this tournament will give his team momentum toward the end of the season.
“We have playoffs coming up, and we are just trying to get better,” Scott said. “We look at every game like it’s a scrimmage. We want to win but we want to improve on some things for the postseason.”
The Warriors (13-5) are also the No. 1 seed and open with Drumright at 5:30 p.m. In Ripley’s last tournament it finished seventh in the Walking F. Ranch Classic. Scott said winning the first game will be key.
“There’s four to five good teams and we hope we are one of them,” Scott said. “We just have to come out and be focused.”
The Frontier Lady Mustangs (14-5) are the second seed in the North Country Classic in Tonkawa and open with Blackwell 4 p.m. Thursday at Northern Oklahoma College.
If the Lady Mustangs win they could face the Pawnee Lady Black Bears for the fourth time in two weeks. Frontier holds the edge, winning the last two matchups. If the Lady Mustangs advance to the championship they could face another familiar foe in Tonkawa, which beat them two out of three games. Coach Clay Stephens said those games can help prepare his team for the playoffs.
“They are 2A and a good team,” Stephens said. “So, the competition helps us. When we get into playoffs, we’ve played 2A teams that make us compete as opposed to playing someone we are going to beat by 40.”
The Lady Black Bears (9-4) open with Guymon at 6:40 p.m. in Northern Oklahoma College. Pawnee coach Jeff Tatum said it will be a challenging tournament.
“If we do our job on Thursday, we’ll match up with Frontier,” Tatum said. “Maybe can get on the front end of it in a tournament this time.”
The Coyle Bluejackets (16-3) are the second seed in the Cashion Tournament and open with Oklahoma Christian School JV. Coach Josh Sumrall said despite playing against a sub-varsity opponent, it will still be a challenge.
“We aren’t just going to be able to walk in and beat them,” Sumrall said. “They are a good 3A JV team. We have to play well.”
Sumrall said his team is playing well heading into the tournament.
“We are using January to get better,” Sumrall said. “I think we’ve done that. Hopefully, it will continue through the tournament.”
The Morrison Lady Wildcats (6-8) are the third seed in the Cashion Tournament and open with Watonga at 4:20 p.m. Thursday. Coach Luke Kruse said he thinks his girls will be competitive adding he’s eyeing a re-match with second-seeded Coyle.
“We lost to them by four points in our first game of the season,” Kruse said. “It will be interesting to see how much better we our since that game.”
The Coyle Lady Bluejackets (11-5) also enter the Cashion Tournament as the second seed and open with Oklahoma Christian JV. Coach Tom Webb said it's a pretty good tournament field.
“We’ll get to play Morrison or Watonga next," Webb said. “Oklahoma Christian Schools have one of the best varsities in the state.”
The Glencoe Lady Panthers (9-9) hope playing at home can lead to a successful tournament as they open with the Yale Lady Bulldogs (6-6) at 11 a.m. Glencoe is the fourth seed. Coach Stephen Castlebury said cutting down turnovers and getting rebounds will be key.
“We are hoping to win a couple of games,” Castlebury said. “If we can (cut turnovers and rebound) it will be a successful tournament.”
Yale coach Kevin Shellhorse said his team needs to be consistent.
“It’s going to depend on how well we shoot,” Shellhorse said.
The Perry Maroons (9-5) hope to start the Jones Tournament well as it opens with Harrah at 4:30 p.m. Thursday. Coach Brandon Hight said he hopes the tournament will help turn momentum as his team enters off a loss to Chisholm.
“The last two years we’ve been on the winnings side,” Hight said. “We just want to get better.”
The Frontier Mustangs (3-16) are the sixth seed in the NOC Tournament and are looking for improvement. The Morrison Wildcats (7-7) are the eighth seed in the Cashion Tournament and are looking to gain a couple victories. Carney girls basketball coach Connie Davis said she hopes her team can make it through the Paden Tournament.
“We’ve had a barrage of injuries,” Davis said. “My starting post is out. We’ve been running 5 or