By Andrew Glover
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The Perkins-Tryon Lady Demons basketball team came within a victory of completing an undefeated season as they finished as Class 3A state runners-up. With the graduation of key players, the Lady Demons will have to find a new way to win games in hopes of returning to state this season.
Post players Jordan Gorham and McKenzie Stanford graduated, leaving this season’s Lady Demons lacking in size. Coach Jerry Burnett said he sees advantages and disadvantages.
“We should be quicker down the floor,” Burnett said. “We are going to have to get more kids involved with the offense. We will probably play a zone defense and pressure more in the backcourt.”
Seniors Jeri Adkism and Bailey Wensler will be the leaders this season as both played key roles in last season’s title run. Burnett said he has quality freshmen that should step in. The coach said he doesn’t expect anyone to overlook his team despite the players it lost.
“We’ve built a tradition and people don’t expect us to rebuild, they expect us to reload,” Burnett said. “Hopefully we can do that.”
Burnett said the key for the Lady Demons to be playing in March depends on how quickly his younger players can adjust to the varsity level.
“It depends on how well our new pieces can fit into what we want to do,” Burnett said. “We won’t have an inside prescence. We are going to have to drive-and-kick and everyone will need to rebound. Hopefully we can get pressure and control the tempo of games.”
The Lady Demons open with Justice Alma Wilson at 6:30 p.m. in Perkins and will compete in the Oklahoma Baptist Tournament Thursday through Saturday.
The Coyle Lady Bluejackets look to build on last season’s run to the area tournament in Class A. Coach Tom Webb said moving up a class will be a challenge because his team will go against better teams.
“We aren’t be able to just whip on bad teams,” Webb said. “We have to show people we can beat good teams.”
Coyle returns several key pieces from last season’s team, including post Shilah Young, point guard Tyra Aska and 3-point shooter Shelby Jennings. Webb said several players that were reserves last season improved.
The Lady Bluejackets open the season at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday against Mulhall-Orlando in their first game in their new gym.
The Pawnee Lady Black Bears look to take the next step and make a run at state under new coach Chad Tsotigh.
“We are trying to get used to everyone’s playing styles, which will come the more we play together,” Tsotigh said. “We’ve got a good group — a good mix of a few seniors, a few juniors, some sophomores and freshmen. If we can gel we should be good come playoff time.”
The Lady Black Bears return several key pieces from last season’s team, including Natalie Jensen and Kerstie Day. Tsotigh said he expects other people to step up.
“We are hoping Jaidan Alley will grow up a little bit this year,” Tsotigh said. “She was a freshman last year, so that’s asking a lot from her. Junior Hannah Burkett, we are expecting to step in. Hopefully we will be a little deeper than last year.”
Pawnee opens the season at 6:30 p.m. Friday in Hominy.
The Lady Maroons seek improvement in their second season under coach Ron Dwyer.
“We gained a lot of valuable experience last year,” Dwyer said. “We got some kids up from the junior high that are going to help us also. We’ve looked better in our scrimmage schedule.”
Perry opens the season 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at home against Pawhuska.
The Morrison Lady Wildcats begin their first season under coach Rowdy Cawlfield. The Lady Wildcats open with Deer Creek-Lamont at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Morrison. Cawlfield said his team will run whatever works best against his opponent.
“We are going to try to match up with people,” Cawlfield said. “If we can we will try to press and get layups. We aren’t very big.”