Stillwater News Press

Sports

July 11, 2012

Strong summer for Stillwater High School boys basketball team

STILLWATER, Okla. — Even before the summer began, Stillwater High School boys’ basketball coach Michael Davis knew he had something special.

Despite losing Dylan Murrell and Tanner Killam to graduation, and Tyler Holcomb to a transfer, Davis said he has been encouraged by his team’s summer performance.

“I thought we did pretty good,” Davis said. “We went 17-14 in our Edmond summer league. We probably could have won four more games, but I missed a couple because I was working some camps. ... I don’t think once we had our entire team there, so to see some of those younger guys filling in was really impressive.”

When it comes to youth, the Pioneers will have plenty of it — led by Dylan Murrell’s youngest brother Bradyn.

“Really Bradyn is just a taller version of Dylan,” Davis said. “I think he’s really going to help us. We also had a couple more freshmen who got to play along with Rico (Thompson). We had to play young because we had guys out because of baseball and football. But I think we’ll see that it will be good for us when the season starts.”

The freshmen may have been a big part of Stillwater’s success this summer, but Davis also credits the development of Carson Teel and Rico Thompson as another factor.

“Rico has had a huge summer,” Davis said. “I challenged him at the beginning of the summer, and he’s accepted that challenge and has taken off with it. Not only is he averaging double figures in scoring, but he’s also averaging double figures in assists. He’s had such a good summer that some colleges have been knocking down his door asking him to come play for them. He’s just had a heck of a summer.”

Teel has spent most of his summer on the baseball diamond pitching for the Stillwater Pioneers American Legion team, but Davis said it didn’t hamper his ability to make plays on the hardwood.

“I thought Carson had just a strong as summer as anybody,” Davis said. “When he was here, he played big for us. These kids have baseball, basketball and football all going on in the summer, and I’m fine with that. As long as they’re making some improvement, that’s what we want.”

After taking second at the Oklahoma State camp, Davis said he hopes the pressure of playing on a big stage against some of the state’s best competition will help Stillwater get past the second round in the Area playoffs — something that the Pioneers struggled with the past two seasons.

“It seems like we always get knocked out in the second round,” Davis said. “Our goal is to get past that. If we can do that, we’re one of those teams that’s tough to beat in a three-day tournament.”

Davis said he knows this upcoming year will present some unforeseen challenges, but he hopes the obstacles he faced during the summer will make his team better when the season comes around.

“We’re excited about getting the season going,” Davis said. “We’ve handled the pressure against some pretty tough teams, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do. We may have lost a couple guys, but I like what we have. I know these kids are ready to get past that second round and see if we can’t win it all. That’s what we’ve been working towards this summer and that’s what we’re going to continue working towards throughout the season.”

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