Lawton, OK 73507
Record: 2-8 | Unranked
|vs Northwest Classen||W||58-0|
|@ Bishop McGuinness||L||52-28|
|vs Carl Albert||L||0-62|
| Ben Johnson
No introduction needed. Here are the "expert" picks for state tournaments taking place this weekend. (Oh, and listen to the podcast while you're at it!)
Ben Johnson - Edmond Memorial: There are so many players to love in this field -- Putnam City Westís Rondel Walker, Sapulpaís Camryn Dennis, Putnam City Northís Micah Thomas, Booker T. Washingtonís Bryce Thompson and so many more. But Shane Cowherd is bringing a team with talent across the board. Thereís a reason the coaches in the state have the Bulldogs as the top-ranked team, so Iíll side with Cowherd and Co. over Booker T. Washington in the finals.
Michael Swisher - Edmond Memorial: The Bulldogs snuck in after losing to Midwest City and squeaking by rival Santa Fe. Theyíll play better this week and bring the trophy down south.
Whitt Carter - Booker T Washington: This will be a fantastic tournament filled with teams that can win it. But Iíll take the Hornets, as they have the experience in big games and are hungry for a title. They had to watch Memorial win two in a row in Class 5A and this year their get one of their own. Another side note, BTWís Seth Hurd is my favorite and the most underappreciated player in the state.
Ben - PC West: Reckless abandon is what the Patrios will play with this weekend, just like theyíve done all year. Not a ton of big-time scorers for PC West, but last yearís runner-up will hoist the gold ball this year.
Michael - Putnam City West: No. 1 in Oklahoma. Nationally-ranked. Havenít lost to a team from Oklahoma. Wonít this weekend, either.
Whitt - Putnam City West: They were right there last year and had their title taken in the waning seconds by Owasso. All theyíve done this year is go 23-1 with a loss to Skyline, TX and dominate the teams inside the state of Oklahoma. Their relentless style of play and approach will be the difference, as they finish on Saturday this time and cut down the nets.
Ben - Memorial: Boone twins. Itís that simple. The Chargers have been a dynamo in 5A with two straight titles and now going for a third. Northwest Classen is good, but can Davion Warden and Co. make it to the title game and then take down the Chargers? I donít see it.
Michael - Memorial: Lenny Hatchett has Del City playing so well, but I canít pick against Memorial. Neither should you.
Whitt - Memorial: Letís all be honest, this is the easiest pick from any of the classes. Bobby Allison and gang are just on another level. The Boone twins will, once again, wow the crowds at the Mabee Center with their athleticism and impact on both ends of the floor. The Chargers get another one, sending Kalib and Keylan out with a bang.
Ben - Piedmont: Per usual, the 5A girls field is pretty much anyoneís for the taking. Rogers is dangerous, but then so is El Reno with Ashlyn Evans-Thompson leading the charge. Coweta is young but talented, and East Central is always a threat. But for this year, Iíll go with the Wildcats, led by Delanie Crawford (14.8 points a game) and Maci Attalla (13.6).
Michael - Piedmont: El Reno beating Ardmore at area put the bracket in a funk as it appears loaded at the bottom. Coach Carrís team will emerge from that and then claim gold on Saturday.
Whitt - Ardmore: They suffered a surprising and tough loss to El Reno at the area tournament last week, but I think that may work to the Lady Tigers advantage by waking them up. This team rolled through the first part of the season, losing their first game in late January. Ardmore cuts down the nets and gets itsí third gold ball.
Ben - Kingfisher: Some unbelievable talent in this field -- Broken Bowís Josh Jones (20.4 points per game), Centralís B.J. Jefferson (16), Elginís Conner Slater (16.3), Kingfisherís Trey Green (17) and Heritage Hallís Trey Alexander (24.8). And whatís scary is a lot of these teams will return a lot of talent next season. But for now, Iím zeroing in on a Kingfisher-Heritage Hall title game for a second straight year. This time the gold ball goes to Jett Sternberger, Matt Stone, Bijan Cortes and Co.
Michael - Kingfisher: I live in Kingfisher. I have to pay my bills. I have to pick the Yellowjacket. Oh, and theyíre really, really good. And hungry. If they get by dangerous Elgin in the quarters, look out.
Whitt - Kingfisher: The class that everyone is excited for will take center stage at the Fairgrounds for all three days. Heritage Hall beat the Yellowjackets in the title game last year and are 26-0 this year. But the star-studded Kingfisher remembers that loss last March and will want revenge. They get it and send out their seniors with a second gold ball.
Ben - Anadarko: Top half of the bracket -- Holland Hall, Muldrow, Elgin and Classen SAS -- is STACKED. Again, STACKED. Thatís part of the reason I went with Anadarko. The Warriors still have their work cut out for them, but Iím rolling the dice with Kaylee Borden (12 points a game), Averi Zinn and the rest of the Anadarko team to win its third gold ball.
Michael - Muldrow: Coaches tell me Classen SAS is as talented as theyíve seen in 4A in a while. And theyíre young as they start three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior. That said, Iím going with Muldrow. Taylen Collins can match up with Littlepage-Buggs and Hannah Boyett can handle the pressure. And thatís just a semifinal. Donít overlook Anadarko, either (it appears I am).
Whitt - Anadarko: A fairly wide open class, there are a handful of teams I could see winning it. Iíll go with the tradition-rich Anadarko, who beat one of the favorites, Classen, last Friday in the area finals. When the Lady Warriors get the press up and running, you better handle the pressure or things can unravel quickly.
Ben - Millwood: Kingstonís Jacob Germany is as good as it gets in this field, but Iíll side with the athleticism of the Falcons here. Give me Justin Wilson and Isaiah Williams and the rest of the Falcons.
Michael - Hereís hoping for a Kingston-Millwood final (all apologies to you other six). Iíve got personal ties to Millwood, so the fan in me is pulling for the Falcons all the way. The business side in me says Kingston wonít be denied.
Whitt - Millwood: Iíll take the Falcons to win the gold ball here. Several really good teams that you can pick here, including Kingston or Sequoyah on the other side. Ultimately, I think Millwood gets the winner of that eventual semifinal and beats them. Millwood has not lost inside the class this year and that wonít change this weekend.
Ben - Christian Heritage: Up from 2A, the Crusaders are still loaded. Tahlequah Sequoyah is probably the favorite, but Iíll side with Olivia Curtis and Rylee Langerman.
Michael - Sequoyah-Tahlequah: CHA has won the last two 2A crowns and is a sleeper, but this isnít 2A and the Lady Crusaders arenít as deep as they have been. Larry Callison rides into the sunset with another state championship.
Whitt - Christian Heritage: Another class with some big time teams, but Iíll take CHA to win another title as it took the jump up a class this season. They know how to win and ultimately get past Sequoyah in what would be an awesome semifinal. Side note, I am really picking my alma mater, the Sulphur Lady Bulldogs - in Toby Todd we trust.
Ben - Hennessey: Total guess here, so Iím siding with Hennessey, who -- along with Hooker -- has only lost twice this season.
Michael - Hooker: This is the most wide-open bracket in OKC, in my opinion. Any number of teams can winÖand also get beat Thursday. Hooker is one of them.
Whitt - Dale: They are coming off a big win over Hooker last week to punch their ticket to the state tourney. They have played well inside the class this year, going 12-2, only losing to Cashion a month ago and Rock Creek back in January.
Ben - Dale: Iím programmed to believe that Dale wins everything when its in any state tournament field. Pirates win again.
Michael - Howe: No Cashion and no CHA this year, which have been Howeís kryptonite the last three years. Dale is in the way, but Jalei Oglesby caps her stellar career with the gold ball.
Whitt - Latta: Iíll go with what many would consider a sleeper pick here, but give me the Lady Panthers. They are a long team and present a bunch of problems defensively. They will have to get past top-ranked Dale in the semis and it would be the rubbermatch between the two.
| Ben Johnson
Made a big podcast addition this week. Ben & Swisher are joined by the Oklahoman's Jacob Unruh.
Jacob & Swisher recap the highlights and the championship moments from the Class A & Class B state tournaments.
Then the guys break down the state tournaments from 2A through 6A. And of course, PREDICTIONS! (Most sure to go wrong, in Ben's case).
And as always, thanks for listening!
| Ben Johnson
The winter sports season is winding down, so we dissect playoffs happenings in Class 4A through Class B basketball. Swisher breaks down what happened on the hardwood, and what to look forward to this week.
Then we shift gears and Ben breaks down the state wrestling fields with Brian †Heindselman. We make some predictions and let fans know what to watch for at Jim Norick Arena over the weekend. (PS, we think Tuttle is pretty good. SURPRISE!)
Email the show at email@example.com - Have a question you want answered on the podcast? Email us & we'll talk about it on the next show.†
Girls Basketball | | Jacob Unruh | NewsOK
Putnam West star CeíNara Skanes led the Patriots to a Class 6A state runner-up finish and now sheís the top player in the Big 10 Conference. Skanes was named the All-Conference Player of the Year this week by coaches. She is a Florida International signee.
Girls Basketball | | Kevin Green | The Lawton Constitution
Nothing could stop the Eisenhower girls on Friday night, and everyone got in on the action during the first round of the Class 5A West Regional.
Eleven players recorded points, pacing the Lady Eagles to a dominant, 79-29, win over Northwest Classen at the Eagles' Nest. The victory extended Ike's winning streak to four games, putting them in the championship game scheduled at 6:30 p.m. on Monday on Ike's home court.
Ike coach Daniel Wall said he and the assistant coaches implemented the theme of "being a family" before the game, and the Lady Eagles displayed that mindset through their seemingly flawless play.
| Korry Rogers
If you're curious about how the COVID-19 curve is trending in your state, we've created a page with daily statistics and charts for every state in the US.
Visit https://skordle.com/COVID-19 to view the data.
| Michael Swisher
The OSSAA sent the following messages to Oklahoma high school athletic directors after their meeting today. As of now, the association is determined to reschedule 2A-6A state basketball and get spring sports played. #
| Ben Johnson
State tournament wrestling is this weekend, and small school basketball teams will be punching their tickets to the state tournament in area tournament play.
Listen in as we break it all down for you.
| Michael Swisher
Less than 24 hours after helping lead his team to another tournament championship, Bijan Cortes announced a big decision about his future.
The Kingfisher High School junior made it public early Sunday evening that he had committed to play basketball for the University of Oklahoma.
[Photo by Russell Stitt/www.stitt.smugmug.com]
ďI want to thank my friends and family for always pushing me to be the best person I can be. I would like to say a big Ďthank youí to Kingfisher and all the great people in it for always coming out and supporting me,Ē Cortes wrote in a statement on social media.
He continued: ďThank you to Coach (Lon) Kruger and the University of Oklahoma staff for believing in my talents. Iím proud to say that I am officially a Sooner! 110% COMMITTED.Ē
Cortes scored 26 points the previous night in Kingfisherís 85-42 win over Guthrie in the finals of the Buckle of the Wheatbelt Invitational.
The Jackets have won 38 straight games and are 72-2 since Cortes began starting as a freshman. During that stretch, theyíve been a 4A state runner-up (2018) and state champion (2019).
KHS is 16-0 this season, during which Cortes has averaged 21.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 2.4 steals. Heís shooting 62.1 percent overall, which includes 56.9 percent from 3-point range.
Rivals, a national recruiting service, has him listed as the 150th-ranked player in the country for the Class of 2021 and the 31st-ranked point guard.
Anther service, 247, has him listed at No. 230 and 37, respectively.
Cortes, who is 6-foot-2, received an offer from OU last April. He also hauled in offers from Oklahoma State, Tulsa, Oral Roberts, North Texas and Texas-San Antonio.
ďOU just felt like home and the coaches there made me a main priority and they always text me telling me that I can be Ďthat guy,íĒ Cortes told Michael Swisher of Skordle and the Kingfisher Times & Free Press.
Cortes was primarily recruited by OU assistant coach Carlin Hartman, as well as head coach Lon Kruger. Both were in Kingfisher to watch Cortes practice earlier this month.
He said Normanís proximity did play a role in his decision.
ďWhy not do it in the home state close to family?Ē he said. ďThat made me want to be a Sooner.Ē
Cortes knows he could have waited to see if other offers came in, but felt the timing was right to commit.
ďI wasnít like ĎIím ready to get it over with,íĒ he said. ďBut I also knew for sure this was my favorite school and staff, so why wait?Ē
| Ben Johnson
Booker T. Washingtonís head-coaching vacancy didnít last long. The Tulsa World reported that Brad Calip would be vacating his post as Hornets head coach for an assistant coaching job at Owasso on Sunday.
On Monday, Tulsa Public Schools is expected to formally announce Jonathan Brown as the Hornets new head coach at Booker T. Washington, according to multiple sources. Brown will be elevated from his current defensive coordinator role.
Calip leaves after going 32-15 during a four-year run as head coach. During that time, Booker T. Washington won the 2017 Class 6AIi state championship.
Brown is a former Booker T. Washington standout who graduated in 1994. He played college football at Tennessee and spent time during his professional career in both the NFL and Canadian Football League.
| Ben Johnson
Owasso recently knocked off Jenks, 14-6, for the Class 6AI championship in Edmond on Dec. 6. It had been determined several weeks before the playoffs started that all 11-man football title games would be played at the University of Central Oklahomaís Wantland Stadium.
But now that the season is over, one state senator is sounding off on the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Associationís decision to force Jenks and Owasso play in a championship game at the other end of the Turner Turnpike.
Sen. J.J. Dossett (D-Sperry) has proposed a bill that he hopes will generate conversation in next yearís legislative session that would allow school districts to determine their playing destination.
Skordle contacted Dossett this weekend and wanted to ask Dossett a few questions.
What made you want to put together the legislation to present it when the legislative session starts in 2020?
Basically, it was the outcry from my community. There are some people that donít like the idea, or the ideas that I have brought up. I purposely wanted until after the game had happened. I filed it on Monday after the game, because I didnít want it be become a distraction. Thereís enough of an outcry and a complaint that have a good point on why we played the game where we did and why we didnít play it where we had the last five, six or seven years. It worked out great for everyone involved when it was played at the University of Tulsa. I had to bring it up; I had to bring up the discontent that my community, Jenks and a lot of the Tulsa area have with the decision that was made by a state-wide group -- that forced this decision on us and did not seek our input.
It was basically left to the football coaches association to make this decision, and most of the people involved werenít going to face the ramifications of their schoolís decision. It was made against the two schools that were playing and were against the decision that was made.
There should be a way for more flexibility with your local school districts that are competing in this situation to be able to not have to go play at a place that was deemed Ďthis is the state championship site,í especially when there were all the problems of playing late on a Saturday night. There were going to be how many teenage drivers on the turnpike late on a Saturday night in December? And, the stadium was nowhere near able to hold our crowd.
All of this put together, in my mind, says we need to do this better and there needs to be a way to do this better. There needs to be a way that we can go play this game somewhere else. I mean, we could have played at Broken Arrow and it would have been able to hold our fans. We could have played in a bunch of different stadiums here in the Tulsa area.
I heard there were 8,000 fans at the game at UCO, and at TU there would have been 20,000, so we stopped people from coming to the game by putting that distance barrier there. Nobody wants that; we want the community to come to the game, if possible.
What would you say to the people that say Senate bill 1111 is a waste of everyoneís time and could be spent discussing something else?
There are thousands of bills filled every year -- some of them get picked up and some donít. It doesnít waste any more time in committee or on the floor. Itís the legislatorís job to conduct the peopleís business, so if a community has an idea or wants to change something, itís the job of the legislator to consider it and go forward from that. And I agree, this is not the most pressing issue in the state of Oklahoma -- I 100 percent agree -- but if thereís a problem, itís the job of the legislator to address an issue that their community is considered about. Senate district 34 up here in north Tulsa County, where we live, we definitely had a concern on this issue. Therefore, itís my job to bring forth such ideas, if the people of my district are concerned about it.
As a former coach, I would like to mention this: I absolutely do not care where weíre playing. We donít care where we play because we were going to win, and thatís the mindset they have. I speak only, and exclusively, from a community standpoint. The community has an opinion on this, and I happen to 100 percent agree with them. If I were still coaching for the Rams, I wouldnít care one bit.
So youíre advocating to play the games at the University of Tulsa, if thatís a viable option?
You have to ask, Ďis this the best we can get?í and I donít think the current option is the best we can get. Weíve seen what good looks like, and it was last year, the year before and the year before, when two Tulsa teams make the championship game and we fill up Chapman Stadium. In my opinion, the OSSAA wins unless something crooked is going on over there. Because if weíre doubling the amount of people going to the game, they make more money -- or thatís how I understand it. I donít understand at all why you wouldnít let local school districts make the best decision for them. If Idabel and McAlester were playing for a championship, then they need to go play that at Eastern (Southeastern Oklahoma State) in Durant. No sense in making those schools drive to Edmond. There needs to be a way out for those schools to be play, and play where it makes sense for the fanbase and a public safety standpoint.
What are your thoughts on playing the Class 6A championship games in Tulsa during the week that they currently use as a bye week?
Sure, that would be an option. Theyíve done the bye week because of the amount of teams in the playoff. Honestly, the whole 6AII thing has been a disaster. Itís handed Bixby a bunch of trophies, and itís been really messed up for my community and I was still coaching when all of it went down. I was still coaching at Owasso at the time. Itís ridiculous for us to travel to Moore -- to play Southmoore or Moore -- and a team that canít even fill up the home stands and play on a Thursday night. Like, why are we doing this? Why arenít we playing Sand Springs or Bixby or Muskogee during the regular season, and then do something different for the playoffs, if necessary?
The initiative to have all the championship games played at one site was pushed by the Oklahoma Football Coaches Association, but itís sounding like not all coaches were onboard with that proposal. How do you think that could have been handled differently?
On how the coaches association makes decisions, I do not know. I hear a lot about Texas, and they like it and thatís fine. From my point of view, if two Houston teams make the championship in any given class, for them to go all the way to Dallas is wrong. I donít buy into the notion of Ďwell, Texas does it this way, so we should do it this way.í Itís the same way with basketball and the big schools playing in Tulsa. If Edmond and Putnam City are playing in the finals, then thatís the wrong decision. Iím not trying to whine; Iím trying to do whatís best for our kids.
What kind of reception do you think this will get when you present it to committee?
Who knows. On these things, you never know. We have these kinds of battles: Tulsa vs. Oklahoma City or urban vs. rural. I will approach other legislators from a straight forward standpoint and say our local school districts are better off when local school districts are making decisions. We donít need state-wide entities or state agencies making blanket decisions for everyone. I have 100 percent faith that the Owasso administration, athletic director, superintendent and all of the above -- and same at Jenks -- would make the right decision for their kids. But when we had that responsibility over to a group of people that arenít in our community, then you donít get as good of an outcome. Thatís the way I see this situation playing out here.
There are some that say the Oklahoma legislature should stay out of high school sports. How do you feel about that?
I absolutely agree, if everything is running properly. The legislature cannot determine how the OSSAA operates within, because itís an agency with itís own control. There are three things in the statute that says schools will not be part of an association that does this, this or this. What Iíve done is adding a fourth. All my bill does is add language that school districts would have flexibility to pick their own locations for championship games.
| Ben Johnson
Shawnee is searching for a new head football coach for the first time in almost two decades.
Billy Brown is out after 16 season as the Wolvesí head coach, a source with direct knowledge has told Skordle.
Shawnee was 92-84 in Brownís tenure and reached the playoffs 10 times.
That included a trip to the 5A semifinals in 2004, Brownís second year. The Wolves reached the quarterfinals five other seasons.
The production dipped the last two seasons as Shawnee went 2-8 both years and missed the playoffs.
After reaching the playoffs three straight seasons from 2012-14, Shawnee has missed the postseason three of the last five years.
| Michael Swisher
I respect the hell out of the Tulsa World.
Any publication that dedicates the resources it does to high school coverage and employs the likes of Barry Lewis and Mike Brown for those purposes gets more than a tip of the cap from me.
Heck, even its managing editor - Mike Strain - is a one-time preps writer for The Oklahoman who once donned football pads and practiced with the Bray-Doyle Donkeys for a story.
Itís good people.
With that said, Iím going to disagree - quite respectfully - with an editorial the newspaper ran Dec. 2 regarding the state high school football championships.
In case you werenít aware, the OSSAA announced last month the University of Central Oklahomaís Wantland Stadium in Edmond would be the host site for all 11-man football title games this year.
Five of those games will be played this weekend, two on Friday and three Saturday, in what will be a long-awaited buffet of football for Oklahoma fans.