By Andrew Glover
STILLWATER, Okla. —
With Christmas break coming to an end, area high school basketball teams are gearing up for the second half of the season and shifting their focus to making long postseason runs.
The Cushing Lady Tigers (12-1) are coming off a third-place performance at the Tulsa Tournament of Champions. Coach Brad Crace said he’s pleased with how his team has played so far.
“I think we really ironed some things out,” Crace said. “We did somethings well and are looking forward to the second half.”
Cushing plays in the Bristow Tournament starting Monday and ending Friday. On Jan. 15 it hosts Berryhill, followed by Blackwell on the 18th and Cleveland on the 21. Crace said his team’s focus is the same it has been all season.
“We started the year with our motto ‘Unfinished business’,” Crace said. “Everyone has their eye on the prize and is working hard to that goal.”
The Glencoe Panthers (10-0) look to keep rolling in the second half of the season as it opens at Morrison today. Coach John Lazenby said his team has really improved its defense.
“We ran man-to-man with zone last year. This year we have chunked the zone and are strictly going with man,” Lazenby said. “We’ve gotten better. Our defense is really strong.”
Lazenby said his team is focused on its goal, to return from the state tournament with a trophy.
“We talk about it every day,” Lazenby said. “We want to hang a picture in the gym and add a gold ball to the trophy case. We will continue to work hard and do the things we need to achieve that.”
The defending Class B state champion Frontier Lady Mustangs have posted an 8-3 record but coach Clay Stephens sees some room for improvement.
“Our defense isn’t where we want it to be,” Stephens said. “We can improve our rebounding.”
Stephens said his team is dealing with injuries to key players.
“We’ve played the last three games without Jalissa (Gum),” Stephens said. “She hurt her arm and we really don’t know what her status is. Marissa (Goodman) turned her ankle. The key for us is to stay healthy.”
The Coyle Bluejackets (7-3) are looking to put together a strong second half and improve their positioning for the playoffs.
“With our guys going to football playoffs, it to a bit to get into basketball shape,” coach Josh Sumrall said. “There was a couple games that I thought we should have won. We’ve had a good break with scrimmages and hard practices. Hopefully we will be ready to go.”
Sumrall said the first five games will be crucial to gaining a good seed in the playoffs.
“We play Carney at home on Friday, Davenport Tuesday and then we have the Muhall tournament,” Sumrall said. “We need to come out and win those games to get a pretty good draw. The rest of our schedule we will use to prepare for playoffs.”
The Lady Bluejackets (6-4) will look to play more aggressively in the second half.
“We were a little gun shy at the beginning of the season,” coach Tom Webb said. “They are deciding that they should be there and are getting confident. We got beat by two 2A schools and two A Class schools. Everyone that beat us is ranked.”
The Morrison Tigers (4-3) look to finish the second half strong with their basketball legs under them.
“We did a good job of winning the games we needed to win,” coach Cory Bales said. “We won three in a row going into break. Hopefully during the break, they’ve improved on some things and are in basketball mode.”
The Yale Lady Bulldogs (4-3) hope to have a strong second half against tough competition.
Yale opens the second half with the Ripley tournament which starts Thursday. Then plays Oilton, Wellston and Tonkawa, followed by the Glencoe Tournament. Coach Kevin Shellhorse said his team’s shooting needs to improve.
“We’re shooting about 20 percent,” Shellhorse said. “I would like to see our shooting percentage go up. We are rebounding the ball well and passing well. We are just having a hard time putting the ball through the basket. If we get our percentage up we should be all right.”
The Agra Lady Bearcats (5-6) are looking for continual improvement with a young roster.
“This is a brand new team,” coach Jon Peveler said. “We have no starters returning. We’ve been looking for improvement and I think we’ve done that.”
The Morrison Lady Wildcats (2-5) have been battling injuries and hope their brutal schedule pays off in the second half.
“We are looking at every game as work to get to the playoffs,” coach Luke Kruse said. “I’ve had two juniors go down with ACL tears. I’ve had girls with concussions and battling sickness.”
Kruse said he’s looking forward to the second half and hopes his team peaks.
“We are still a young team and learning how to win,” Kruse said. “We’re going to look at each game as work and try to do well.”