Stillwater News Press

Sports

February 26, 2014

Press Box Views: Sumrall has Coyle peaking

STILLWATER, Okla. — Great coaches are the ones who can get their players peaking at the right time of the season. It seems that year after year, Coyle coach Josh Sumrall has his team playing its best basketball in the second half of the season.

This season has been no different as the Bluejackets reached the area round. Sumrall said it’s about getting his players in basketball shape after they return from football. This season, Sumrall had a different challenge – getting his players used to playing the game.

Senior point guard Ryan Weathers was the only returning player with significant experience from last season’s state runners-up team. Lashay Johnson, Jared Weathers, Andy Abebaw and Heath Moorman were on last season’s team but only played in mop-up duty.

In December, Coyle had to get used to playing together and figuring out its identity. The growing pains were evident as the Bluejackets only won a game before Christmas break. Since then, the Bluejackets have gone 14-7 and have won eight of their last nine games.

What’s been key to the Bluejackets’ turnaround? First, the players are more experienced and understand the game better. This has led to them executing better — cutting down on turnovers, creating turnovers, finding and making quality shots.

Coyle is finding its identity as a team and players are fitting into roles. Anthony McLeod and Chaz Newton are consistently scoring the ball. In the postseason, Jared Weathers is finding himself among the offensive leaders. Weathers is the veteran leader on the team and does a great job of distributing the ball. He’s also not afraid to take the team on his back.

Heath Moorman may not have the athleticism that Tony Aska possessed, but he is a physical body in the post. Moorman isn’t afraid to sacrifice his body, as he is willing to take charges.

The Bluejackets are three wins from the state tournament. The way they are playing, they have a good chance of returning.

Andrew Glover is a sports reporter for The Stillwater News Press. He can be contacted at aglover@stwnewspress.com.

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