By Andrew Glover
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Last season, the Coyle Bluejackets basketball team made an impressive run to the Class A state championship game, falling to Arnett. To make it back, Coyle will need to do so with several new faces.
Leading scorers Fidel Simpson and Eric Harris and leading scorer and rebounder Tony Aska all graduated. Senior guard and outside shooting threat Ryan Weathers is the only returning starter from last season’s team and will be counted on to lead this season’s team. Coach Josh Sumrall thinks he has some players to fill roles left behind by Simpson, Harris and Aska.
“We have a lot of players that got good experience practicing (with our seniors) and playing against them,” Sumrall said. “Lashay Johnson and Heath Moorman will be stepping into bigger roles. Chad Newton is going to play a lot of minutes for us. Laine Noble is going to have more time. Anthony McLeod sat out last year and he’s ready to play. Everyone is going to be a threat.”
Sumrall said his team is going to be very athletic and hopes they get into basketball shape quickly.
“We need to get games under our belt and find our identity,” Sumrall said. “We’ve had only a few practices since football ended. We just need to play our way into shape.”
The Bluejackets open the season 8 p.m. Tuesday against Mulhall-Orlando in their first game in their new gym.
The Pawnee Black Bears got off to a solid start last season, winning their first 18 games. This season, the Black Bears hope for a stronger finish as they look to return to the state tournament.
“We are going to be long and athletic,” coach David Page said. “We have a lot of kids out and are going to be solid.”
The Black Bears went 23-4 and were defeated in the area round last season. Page said he is looking forward to a healthy Nathan Brock returning. Last season against Glencoe, Brock went down for the season with a torn muscle.
“He’s bigger and better than he was last season,” Page said. “He averaged 14 points per game last season.”
Brock isn’t the only guy Page expects to step up this season. Gideon Gardner was a freshman last season and averaged six points per game. Page said he’s much improved and should contribute more. Ryland and Payden Moore are other returners who Page expects to play key roles.
Page said his team’s first goal is to make it to the state tournament. He is confident in his players.
“These kids have been around our program and seen us make state before and know what it’s like,” Page said.
The Black Bears open the season at Hominy at 8 p.m. Friday.
Perkins-Tryon coach Norman Tippeconnie expects great things from this season’s Demons.
“We’re excited and ready to get going,” Tippeconnie said. “We start with the OBU tournament and ready to get going.”
The Demons were defeated in the regional tournament and return a strong core of players from last season. P-T will be led by its seniors — Hayden McBride, Travis Cotton and Matt Waitt. Talon and Thunder Sharp should play key roles as well. Perkins-Tryon opens the season at home Tuesday against Justice Alma Wilson. Thursday through Saturday, P-T competes in the OBU Tournament.
The Morrison Wildcats won’t have much time to get adjusted to the hardwood after their football season ended Friday in the state quarterfinals.
“We have practice (Saturday) and game Tuesday,” coach Cory Bales said.
The Wildcats open the season with Deer Creek-Lamont 8 p.m. in Morrison.
The Perry Maroons look to improve from last season’s trip to regionals. The Maroons open the season against Pawhuska Tuesday in Perry at 8 p.m.