Stillwater News Press

Sports

July 9, 2012

Stillwater girls basketball gears up for season with summer camps, tournaments

STILLWATER, Okla. — Losing LaNesha Middleton to graduation, Stillwater High School girls’ basketball coach Carl Treat was hoping to find Middleton’s replacement over the summer.

He didn’t find a player who was as versatile as Middleton, but what he did find was that the Lady Pioneers are ready to take that next step to get to state.

“It was good for us because every year people graduate and so you have to fill those roles,” Treat said. “I’ve seen the kids develop and get better. We wanted to use the summer to expand the roles of the players and kind of get an idea of who can do what, and get everybody used to playing with each other again. ... It’s basically a chance to gain a lot of experience, get used to each other again and kind of get an idea of where we’re headed.”

That direction seems to be up the state’s standings. The Stillwater junior varsity team won nearly every tournament it played in while the varsity squad showed it could compete with the best of the best after facing four different Oklahoma state champions in various camps and tournaments.

“We had a really good summer,” Treat said. “Between the varsity and JV teams, I think we played almost 60 games and had a lot of success. We played four different state champions from the previous year — seven teams won state, so getting to play four of them was nice. We even played a couple of them a couple times, so that was a good experience for us.”

“Our JV team won  three of the four tournaments they played in this summer — either at camps or at tournaments,” Treat said. “That was good to see younger kids have some success and getting used to the system.”

Treat said it has been an adjustment for everybody involved, but he’s been impressed with how quickly his sophomores have picked up Treat’s system.

“It’s good for us because a lot of the time the sophomores come in and we just don’t know exactly what’s going to happen,” Treat said. “The terminology and the speed of the game is so different. So to see them to be successful that way is always good. When their first taste of being at the high school level is successful like that, it just makes you more eager and ready to work when you get them back.”

As far as who Treat expects to fill the void left by Middleton, Treat said he could see the Lady Pioneers working as more of a team this season instead of relying on one player.

“The one thing I saw is that a lot of different people have developed,” Treat said. “Blake Bullard has gotten so much better at going to the hole. Austyn Ivan developed more of an offensive game and is doing a good job of leading our team. At the point guard position Callie Atkins is more agile and more aggressive as well.

“They understand that with LaNesha gone, they now have the chance to attack the goal and they’re going to have more opportunities to do that. They’re looking forward to the challenges. I was really pleased with all four of our returning starters developed. Jenny Scarbrough really improved on the defensive end as well. All four of those girls got tough and had a good summer and we’ve got a lot of younger kids that are going to develop and help fill those roles as well. We’re just really looking forward to the season.”

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