By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
One comparison between the Stillwater and Lawton Eisenhower girls basketball teams and it might seem like the two programs are headed in opposite directions.
Lawton Eisenhower (5-0) is coming off a tournament win in Altus, while the Lady Pioneers (3-2) are still trying to fill the void left by senior Blake Bulard’s season-ending knee injury.
What may seem like a mismatch on paper, could turn into an advantage when Stillwater hosts the 19th-ranked Lady Eagles at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Pioneer Fieldhouse.
“Eisenhower is a good team,” Stillwater coach Carl Treat said. “They won the Altus Tournament and have a lot of momentum right now. This weekend will be our first big test against two tough Class 6A schools. We look forward to the challenge and hopefully it will help give us some momentum as we head into the Christmas break.”
Treat has spent the last week working like a mad scientist to try to find the right combination for replacing Bulard. It hasn’t been easy but after a good week of practice, the Stillwater coach feels like he’s getting closer to putting together a lineup that works.
“We’ve sort of done it buy committee,” Treat said. “We had some really good practices and a couple of girls are starting to step up and fill that void a little. When somebody goes down like that, everybody has to contribute a little bit more.
“We just have to keep working at it. Those were our first games without Blake. We’re still looking for the continuity, but we’ve had a good week of practice.”
Before the Lady Pioneers can set their sights on an undefeated Eisenhower team, Stillwater must first get past a Lawton High as the two teams battle at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Pioneer Fieldhouse.
“They’ve had a couple tough losses the last few weeks,” Treat said. “I know they’re going to give us everything they’ve got. Both of us are trying to get a couple more wins before Christmas break, so this weekend is huge for us. We have three games in the next two weeks. If we can win those, it just helps build momentum for the rest of the season.”
Playing games back-to-back like this would be a concern for most coaches. But even after playing their fifth game in 10 days, Treat said that he’s not concerned about whether or not it will have an affect on his players.
“I don’t think it’s really going to be a factor,” Treat said. “They’re kind of in the same situation that we’re in because Lawton goes to Enid on Saturday and Ike plays Enid on Friday, so we’re both playing two games this weekend.”
Treat said to ensure that his team was fresh, he went a little lighter on practice — even using some time to study film.
“Having most of the week off was a good thing for us,” Treat said. “It gave us time to watch some film and look at the things we did right and things we did wrong (at Bixby). It was a chance for us to rest up and work on getting better.”
With the pieces of the puzzle finally starting to fall in place, a pair of wins — especially over a ranked team in Eisenhower — may be the boost Stillwater needs to ignite its season. And while it is still December, it’s never too early to start thinking about the playoffs.
“This is a real big weekend for us,” Treat said. “We’ve played some smaller schools early in the season, but these are a couple of schools that might be competing for a playoff spot. We usually don’t worry about those types of things in December, but we know that a couple of quality wins will help us as practice and get ready for Christmas break. But either way, we can’t get too high or too low with whatever happens. We still have a long season ahead of us and a lot of games left to play.”