Stillwater News Press

Sports Columns

March 4, 2014

Holt Report: SHS Pioneers dropped in regionals

STILLWATER, Okla. — The disappointed expression on the face of Michael Davis, Stillwater’s boys’ basketball coach, spoke volumes.

Davis had just seen his Pioneers struggle in a 54-52 loss to Sand Springs in the Class 6A Regional Tournament opener at Bixby. It was the one-and-done game.

It was disappointing because SHS (17-7) had played its best hoops of the season late and entered regionals on a six-game winning streak.

It was also disappointing because a normally good shooting Pioneer team sank 1 of 16 3-point attempts and missed crucial free throws late. What wasn’t disappointing, however, was the effort.

“I was just so disappointed for those kids. It doesn’t get any easier as the years go by,” Davis said. “That was the last thing I expected for us to go play like we did. But, to their credit when they got down 16 they didn’t quit and got back into the game.

“That’s a tribute to these kids. We lost three starters from last year’s team and we were able to have another good season.”

The one thing missing off Davis’ 15-year resume is a trip to the state tournament.

His teams have been close several times, losing in the final seconds of five area tournament finales.

“I don’t want it necessarily for me but for the community of Stillwater,” he said. “Until you actually do it you don’t get the respect you deserve even though your program competes with the best. ... It would mean something for me to do it here since I’m a Pioneer and for all the guys who have played here and for all the guys I’ve coached who have invested in this program. Being a Pioneer means something to me and I want all our programs to do well.

“As disappointed as I was, I couldn’t have been happier for coach (Doug) Chesbro winning the state (wrestling) championship,” Davis said. “He’s a guy I’m really close to and he’s a Pioneer through and through.

“After all he’s been through to see his team win state is just great. And, he’s in position to do it again next year.”

Coach Davis eclipsed the 200-win mark this season and is 208-156 at SHS.

His investment in the program began in his playing days.

He played for the Pioneers under head coach Jim Kerwin and later played for Kerwin at Northern Oklahoma Junior College.

After Northern, he played for Jerry Jobes at Oklahoma Christian University.

He was an assistant coach at SHS under coaches Steve Hesser, also a former Pioneer, and John Phillips before becoming coach.

Hesser and Phillips won state titles later at Bartlesville and Broken Arrow, respectively.

Davis understands the challenges of winning a state title at SHS, but he’s still passionate and committed to helping his alma mater seize that opportunity.

Ron Holt is a columnist for The Stillwater News Press. Holt was a sports editor for The News Press for nearly 30 years and still resides in Stillwater.

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