By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
When the Stillwater High School boys basketball team takes the court against Bishop McGuinness Friday at Pioneer Fieldhouse, they will be looking to do more than just defend the home court during Homecoming. They’ll also be looking for a little revenge.
A month ago, the Pioneers blew an open layup late and had a shot at the buzzer rattle out during the game in Tulsa, allowing the Irish to come away with a 57-55 win.
“It still sits with us that we did give one up that we felt like we could have taken from them,” Stillwater assistant coach Kyle Love said. “It’s always a close game with them and we’ve been on the losing end of it the past two years. Even the games from last year, we still think about a bit — especially as coaches. We know how much of a battle it’s going to be every time we play them.”
But this time things are a little different. No longer do the Pioneers (14-4) have the bull’s-eye on their back — that belongs to Bishop McGuinness, which comes in as the top-ranked team in Class 5A.
That still doesn’t mean Stillwater isn’t feeling the pressure to win, especially since it is Homecoming. But it’s how Stillwater is handling that pressure that could make the difference Friday.
“We play really well at home and we’re still undefeated at home,” Love said. “Our guys take a lot of pride in protecting our house. That’s something that we set as a goal at the beginning of the year — not to lose one at home. We definitely have a little more invested into this game and we know it’s a big game going into the playoffs. We know that there’s a lot riding on it and we’re just going to approach it like any other game because we feel like every game for us is big. We really can’t afford to give up too, man. It may be just another game, but we do understand that it is a big one.”
The Pioneers won’t be the only ones looking for a little revenge Friday. Bishop McGuinness’ girls team will also be looking to get even after the Lady Pioneers’ overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Lady Irish in overtime.
Knowing that Bishop McGuinness would like nothing more than to get a little revenge by playing spoiler at Homecoming, Stillwater coach Carl Treat hopes that experience will pay off when the two teams tip off at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
“It always tougher to play somebody at their place than our place,” Treat said. “It’s nice to get the win at their place and now we got the comforts of being at home. But there were some other factors in that game. Callie Atkins was out and we’ve got her back now. We’re pretty much almost all healthy now, so that’s a big factor, too.”
The Lady Pioneers (11-7) have had their fair share of tests this past week, beating two ranked teams in Class 5A during the Shawnee Invitational. SHS has had a lot of success against ranked teams in the past, but both coaches know that dealing with Homecoming is a completely different animal — especially when revenge is a factor.
“The coronation and all that takes place during the boys’ game,” Treat said. “Hopefully we can maintain our focus and do what we need to do, where it’s a fun occasion after our game and everybody’s excited because we got the win.”