Woodward, OK 73801
Record: 26-8 | Unranked
|@ Del City||W||2-21|
|vs OKC Broncos||W||7-2|
|vs Edmond Memorial|
|vs Alva||Missing Score|
|@ Guthrie||Missing Score|
|@ Mooreland||Missing Score|
|@ Piedmont||Missing Score|
|vs Del City||Missing Score|
|vs Guymon||Missing Score|
|@ Enid||Missing Score|
|@ Western Heights||Missing Score|
State Tournament at The Ballfields at Firelake
| Ben Johnson
Whitt and I have reached red-alert status for this season. If we're not careful, we may be stripped of our picking duties. Either that, or our picks will be distributed for pure comedy.
Week 4 picks - Swisher 15-3 | Coach Turney 16-2 | Whitt 15-3 | Ben 13-5
Overall - Swisher 66-25 | Turney 64-27 | Ben 57-34 | Whitt 57-34
My apologies in advance to the teams I pick below:
Midwest City at Stillwater
Michael Swisher: Stillwater 28, Midwest City 17
Ben Johnson: Stillwater 37, Midwest City 32
Whitt Carter: Stillwater 34, Midwest City 27
Randy Turney: Stillwater 34, Midwest City 20
Heritage Hall at John Marshall
Michael Swisher: Heritage Hall 24, John Marshall 22
Ben Johnson: John Marshall 20, Heritage Hall 18
Whitt Carter: Heritage Hall 27, John Marshall 14
Randy Turney: Heritage Hall 24, John Marshall 21
Booker T. Washington at Bixby
Michael Swisher: Booker T. Washington 27, Bixby 20
Ben Johnson: Bixby 21, Booker T. Washington 20
Whitt Carter: Bixby 21, Booker T. Washington 20
Randy Turney: Bixby 28, Booker T. Washington 20
Altus at Ardmore
Michael Swisher: Ardmore 23, Altus 17
Ben Johnson: Ardmore 20, Altus 19
Whitt Carter: Ardmore 35, Altus 21
Randy Turney: Ardmore 21, Altus 20
Tahlequah at Skiatook
Michael Swisher: Skiatook 24, Tahlequah 14
Ben Johnson: Tahlequah 24, Skiatook 20
Whitt Carter: Tahlequah 35, Skiatook 31
Randy Turney: Skiatook 28, Tahlequah 21
Lincoln Christian at Seminole
Michael Swisher: Lincoln Christian 31, Seminole 21
Ben Johnson: Lincoln Christian 27, Seminole 19
Whitt Carter: Lincoln Christian 42, Seminole 28
Randy Turney: Lincoln Christian 22, Seminole 14
Davenport at Dewar
Michael Swisher: Davenport 41, Dewar 33
Ben Johnson: Davenport 37, Dewar 22
Whitt Carter: Davenport 52, Dewar 42
Randy Turney: Davenport 48, Dewar 40
Berryhill at Locust Grove
Michael Swisher: Berryhill 30, Locust Grove 29
Ben Johnson: Berryhill 29, Locust Grove 20
Whitt Carter: Berryhill 28, Locust Grove 21
Randy Turney: Berryhill 34, Locust Grove 21
Yukon at Edmond Santa Fe
Michael Swisher: Edmond Santa Fe 31, Yukon 20
Ben Johnson: Edmond Santa Fe 24, Yukon 17
Whitt Carter: Edmond Santa Fe 27, Yukon 17
Randy Turney: Edmond Santa Fe 21, Yukon 14
Yale at Regent Prep
Michael Swisher: Regent Prep 42, Yale 28
Ben Johnson: Regent Prep 38, Yale 30
Whitt Carter: Regent Prep 38, Yale 32
Randy Turney: Regent Prep 38, Yale 14
Crescent at Crossings Christian
Michael Swisher: Crescent 29, Crossings Christian 24
Ben Johnson: Crossings Christian 27, Crescent 23
Whitt Carter: Crossings Christian 24, Crescent 20
Randy Turney: Crossings Christian 28, Crescent 20
Jones at Meeker
Michael Swisher: Jones 35, Meeker 20
Ben Johnson: Jones 42, Meeker 27
Whitt Carter: Jones 36, Meeker 28
Randy Turney: Jones 34, Meeker 22
Clinton at Weatherford
Michael Swisher: Clinton 18, Weatherford 14
Ben Johnson: Clinton 22, Weatherford 17
Whitt Carter: Weatherford 24, Clinton 18
Randy Turney: Weatherford 22, Clinton 20
Broken Bow at Hilldale
Michael Swisher: Hilldale 21, Broken Bow 20
Ben Johnson: Hilldale 27, Broken Bow 21
Whitt Carter: Hilldale 34, Broken Bow 28
Randy Turney: Hilldale 22, Broken Bow 14
Woodward at Bishop McGuinness
Michael Swisher: Bishop McGuinness 31, Woodward 14
Ben Johnson: Bishop McGuinness 33, Woodward 22
Whitt Carter: Bishop McGuinness 37, Woodward 21
Randy Turney: Bishop McGuinness 38, Woodward 20
Memorial at Collinsville
Michael Swisher: Collinsville 28, Memorial 17
Ben Johnson: Collinsville 23, Memorial 12
Whitt Carter: Collinsville 28, Memorial 13
Randy Turney: Collinsville 22, Memorial 21
Union at Mustang
Michael Swisher: Union 28, Mustang 26
Ben Johnson: Union 37, Mustang 17
Whitt Carter: Union 27, Mustang 16
Randy Turney: Union 38, Mustang 18
| Ben Johnson
District play has arrived in full force, and there are great games all over the state this week.
Narrowing down the list to the top 10 games wasn't easy, but here it is:
1. 6AII No. 2 Midwest City (3-1) at 6AII No. 1 Stillwater (4-0): In a loaded Class 6AII District 1, the winner here has to feel good about having the inside edge to a district title. The Bombers, having beaten Stillwater four of the last six matchups since 2012, topped the Pioneers in a 35-21 clash last season. In that game, Midwest City quarterback Preston Colbert accounted for 234 yards through the air, including three touchdowns. For good measure, he also rushed for two scores. Last week, Lawton's Miles Davis torched Midwest City for 181 yards and two touchdowns, and now Stillwater will deploy Qwontrel Walker, who rushed for 300-plus yards against Deer Creek last week.
2. 3A No. 1 Heritage Hall (3-1) at 3A No. 2 John Marshall (4-0): Heritage Hall's Billy Ross is closing in on 2,000 career rushing yards. John Marshall quarterback Jerod Leviston is closing in on 1,000 yards through the air this season. And while the offenses may have superb star power, it's the defense stealing the spotlights here. Heritage Hall has only given up 51 points -- most coming in a 30-20 loss to Millwood. John Marshall has yielded only 28 points -- most recently only giving up 10 in a 76-10 win over Bridge Creek last week. These two -- both reigning state champions: Heritage Hall (4A) and John Marshall (3A) -- have met in non-district play the last two seasons with the Chargers winning both. Now they get to square off with district supremacy on the line.
3. 6AII No. 4 Booker T. Washington (2-2) at 6AII No. 3 Bixby (3-1): Rematch of last year's 6AII title game -- one that saw Booker T. Washington come from behind to win. Both teams showcase stellar defensive units. Bixby is led by Ryan Kerr, Brody Sartin, Ethan Hall, Noah West and others, while Booker T. Washington's defense is led by Dax Hill, one of the nation's top recruits who just committed to Michigan. The key for both teams will be finding offensive success. Bixby will lean on quarterback Mason Williams, tailback Braden Roller and wideout Brennan Presley. Booker T. Washington was without its top tailback, Thomas Grayson, against Bartleville last week, and primary quarterback Dwight Hamilton also suffered an arm injury against the Bruins. If Hamilton is unable to go, the Hornets are likely to turn to Tai Dobbins. These two clubs have met every year since 2014, and the Hornets have won three of the five games.
4. 5A No. 3 Altus (4-0) at 5A No. 2 Ardmore (4-0): This might end being the quickest game of the week. Lots and lots of running and by a multitude of players. The Bulldogs have had at least seven players carry the ball at least 16 times and for more than 130 yards to this point in the season. And six of those seven have found the end zone. Ardmore has five -- Cameron Petties, Tero Roberts, Jadrien Monor, Jermaine Scallion and Eean Ross -- primary ball carries, all of which have shared the ball for more than 1,100 yards. Since 2010, Altus and Ardmore have shared district space, and Ardmore has gone 5-2 in those contests.
5. 5A No. 7 Tahlequah (4-0) at 5A No. 4 Skiatook (4-0): Two of the most unheralded players in the state -- Tahlequah's Dae Dae Leathers and Skiatook's Jayden Garner -- will battle it out this week. Leathers and the Tigers rushing attack has been nearly impossible to stop, and Skiatook has been extremely balanced on offense with Garner and Cody Evans at quarterback. One area where Skiatook could have the advantage is defense; the Bulldogs have given up only 19 points through four games. Twice opponents have scored 20 or more points against the Tigers.
6. 3A No. 4 Lincoln Christian (4-0) at 3A No. 7 Seminole (4-0): Much like Heritage Hall and John Marshall, Lincoln Christian and Seminole spent the last two seasons playing as non-district foes (with Lincoln Christian winning both). Seminole will undoubtedly turn to Cameron Gunville (761 yards on 70 carries) in the ground game, while Lincoln Christian will spread it around, thanks to quarterback Chase Ricke (875 yards, 10 TDs on 41 of 69 attempts), tailback Brendyn Harris (402 yards on 66 carries) and Sam Brueggemann (436 yards on 14 catches).
7. B No. 2 Davenport (4-0) at B No. 4 Dewar (4-0): Jacob Acord and Stevie Orr have been nothing short of stellar on the offensive side of the ball for Davenport. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs' defense remains tough to crack. These two teams put on a show last year in a 44-42 win for Davenport.
8. 3A No. 3 Berryhill (4-0) at 3A No. 9 Locust Grove (4-0): Here's a solid matchup of two quarterbacks that don't get the credit they deserved. Berryhill's Cody Ross has tossed for 750 yards and six touchdowns while completing 46 of 80 attempts. For Locust Grove, Caden Bendabout is completing 71 percent (54 of 76) of his passes for 865 yards and seven touchdowns. These two teams have met every year since 2013, and Locust Grove has won three of the five, although Berryhill has won the last two (a 46-14 win last year).
9. 6AI No. 6 Yukon (4-0) at 6AI No. 4 Edmond Santa Fe (4-0): The winner here might announce itself as a potential threat to Broken Arrow, Jenks or Union at the top of 6AI. The Wolves have won the past seven games dating back to 2011, and they'll test Yukon's defense with Kanan Hansen at quarterback.
10. B No. 7 Yale (4-0) at B No. 3 Regent Prep (3-0): Yale hasn't gotten the credit it deserves this season, but that'll end if it's able to knock off Regent Prep. The Rams' Braden Gilbert has thrown for 957 yards and 14 touchdowns while completing 37 of 57 passes this season. The two teams have only met once, and Yale won 38-14 in 2011.
Crescent at Crossings Christian: Another week, another big showdown in District A-3. These two haven't met since 2015 with the series tied 2-2.
Jones at Meeker: Meeker's unbeaten start will be tested with these two clubs facing off for the first time since 2009.
Clinton at Weatherford: These two Interstate-40 rivals have met every year since 1957, including several some memorable playoffs showdown. Weatherford won last year's meeting 30-7.
Broken Bow at Hilldale: Hornets have beaten Broken Bow two years in a row, including last year's 21-6 decision.
Woodward at Bishop McGuinness: Woodward hasn't beaten Bishop McGuinness since 1996. The Irish have won the last seven matchups between the two clubs.
Memorial at Collinsville: Jamoni Jones rushed for 300-plus yards against East Central last week, but now he'll face a test in the Cardinals' stout defense. Collinsville's defense has been a lockdown unit since allowing 250-plus yards to Bartlesville's DeAndre Young in week two.
Union at Mustang: Union has won all six games against Mustang in the series between the two. Three times it has finished as a one-possession game, but Union won last year 48-28.
So who wins all the matchups? Check back for our weekly picks on Thursday.
*Photo by Jimmy Gillespie/Stillwater NewsPress
| Michael Swisher
The 2019-20 basketball season will certainly go down in the books for making it.
It will forever be remembered as the year that never ended. Better put, it was never finished for most of Oklahoma’s high school basketball classifications.
Save for A and B, there was a beginning and a middle, but no end.
That’s 80 teams that got no resolution.
Oh, they got to feel the glory of reaching the state tournament, but never were afforded that closure.
Whether it was a blowout in the quarterfinals, a buzzer-beater in the semifinals, having to settle for silver or raising that gold ball, they will never know what might have been.
In this multi-part series, Skordle will give you a closer look at the roller coaster that was the 2019-20 basketball season from two men who were part of every step.
We talked with two coaches who experienced the grueling regular season, the highs of qualifying for state and the lows of not getting to actually experience state itself.
This series will delve deep into the emotions of Perry’s Brandon Hight and Cashion’s John Hardaway.
The latter got Cashion to the state tournament for the first time since 1996.
Hight, meanwhile, more than one-upped his friend. He coached Perry to state for the first time...ever.
What was it like to battle through a marathon season? Take some tough losses? Play in that area championship? Win that area championship? LOSE that area championship and play the next night? Prepare for the state tournament? Have OKC become the epicenter of the coronavirus the night before the biggest game in your coaching career? Have that state tournament postponed? Live with the unknown for multiple weeks? And, ultimately be told you’ll never play the state tournament you and your team worked so hard to attain?
Find out what was going through the minds of Hight and Hardaway, how they dealt with it and what it meant to them and their teams.
Part I - The Regular Season
Coming into the season, there was reason for optimism in both Cashion and Perry.
Both programs have been overshadowed by other sports at their own school.
Perry, of course, has the behemoth wrestling juggernaut with which to share the winter spotlight while Cashion’s football team has returned to prominence under Lynn Shackelford.
However, the 2019-20 season gave fans at both schools reason to believe they should be cheering on the boys’ roundball teams.
Perry was coming off a 22-6 campaign in 2019 in which it reached the area finals in Class 3A before losing two straight.
Hight: Last year we had a very successful season and brought back four starters (Mason Drake and Jace Goldsberry were both all-conference and two-year starters, and Braxton Dale and Caleb Fortney) and the first two off the bench (Noah Cash and Dylan Hight) so we had very high expectations.
Cashion, meanwhile, was 16-10 in 2019 and - for the 23rd consecutive year! - failed to get beyond the regional tournament. However, there was reason for optimism in 2020. Coming back from last year’s squad were seniors like Jacob Woody, Alex Nabavi and TJ Roberts. Also back was a deep crop of sophomores who cut their teeth as freshmen last season. Coaches ranked Cashion No. 13 in 2A to start the year.
Hardaway: Expectations were very high. We had so much coming back and our freshmen were now sophomores. We had won some big games the year before and played up as much as we could in the summer and did well.
The Maroons lived up to their hype early. After starting the season ranked No. 11, they won their first nine games and moved all the way up to No. 4. They won their first two games of the Wheat Capital Tournament to earn a shot at 4A defending champ and top-ranked Kingfisher in the finals. Perry pushed Kingfisher for three-plus quarters before ultimately losing 68-49.
Hight: You never like to lose, but I think it did give our guys some confidence that they could compete with good teams. I’m not sure a 19-point loss can always prove that, but I felt like our guys competed, played hard and didn’t look scared of the moment; which, the previous year in the playoffs, I felt like the moment was almost too big for us at times.
Cashion had to wait...and wait...and wait to start its season. That’s because the Wildcat football team advanced the way to the Class A state championship. Despite two starters and two of its top bench players being on the football team, the Wildcats opened their season Dec. 13 in a tournament at Garber.
Cashion advanced to Saturday’s title game against the host Wolverines...the same day as the football team’s state title game at Edmond.
Hardaway: That was an incredibly long day! We had about 13 kids without our football players. We started that day in the morning in my classroom with film and then had a shootaround. Our team and the girls team drove to the football game together at UCO. We watched the football game and were not in a huge to leave because we knew there was going to be some time needed, win or lose.
Ringling defeated Cashion 20-14 in the football title tilt. The basketball teams, both of which were in the championship games at Garber, loaded up for the trip north.
Hardaway: On the way up, I was a little weary how the full day would take its toll on us. But the pressure that night was definitely on Garber because of the football game and not having our full set of guys. We started the game kind of slow, were getting blasted early, but hung around. We had an unbelievable third quarter.
Cashion outscored Garber 26-15 in the third quarter. Vance Raney made four of the team’s seven 3-pointers in the decisive frame. Cashion went on to win the game 61-55 against a Garber team that was ranked No. 3 in Class A at the time. Garber ultimately won the Class A state championship.
Hardaway: Once we got the lead we were able to manage the rest of the game very well. It was an awesome win and I felt like it really jump-started our season for us in the right way. It definitely got everyone else's attention as well.
The Maroons bounced back from their first loss to win two straight games, but the biggest lull in their season followed. Perry dropped a 70-66 decision to Woodward on Jan. 21. That was the start of four losses in six games. Two of those came consecutively in the Cashion County Line Tournament (Crossings Christian and Clinton). After the tournament, Hooker edged the Maroons at the Downtown Enid Basketball Festival.
Hight: We lost those four games in a two-week stretch where my best player had a pretty significant injury, but continued to play. I also had four guys test positive for the flu B right before the Hooker game and they played through it. I’ve always told my guys, “Sports are like life: You’re going to go through ups and downs and how you respond is important.” Plus we played in the Cashion tournament where five teams ultimately made the state tournament and Clinton was an area qualifier in 4A. I don’t think doubt ever crept in for us, but we talked as a team about how it was up to us to get things turned around one game at a time. No point in feeling sorry for ourselves.
Cashion won its first 11 games. Included was the Three Rivers Conference Tournament championship for the second straight year - after having never won it before 2019. The Wildcats beat 3A No. 10 Hennessey - the conference standard bearer for the last several years - 47-46 in the championship.
Hardaway: That was so big for us. Winning the conference tournament is really tough and Hennessey is such a tough team. They have really controlled things on the boys side since Brady (Page) has been there as head coach and they had one of the best kids around in Angel Rodriguez. Hennessey beat us most of that game. They ran a triangle-and-2 and we hadn't seen that all year. They played us like a program of their caliber should. Somehow we found a way. To win the conference tournament two years in a row, beating Hennessey two years in a row after having never won it before really speaks to the type of kids we have.
The win helped push Cashion to No. 7 in the next week’s rankings. A week and a half later, the Wildcats hosted their County Line Tournament, dubbed by most coaches on the boys’ side as the “Tournament of Champions.” Cashion, undefeated and ranked seventh in 2A, was the FIFTH seed. The Wildcats played 3A No. 9 Crossings Christian IN THE FIRST ROUND. Crossings emerged 62-60 on a last-second shot and ultimately won the tournament. Cashion “settled” for fifth place. However, the Wildcats sent more notice by defeating 2A No. 1 Dale 53-42 in that consolation championship.
Hardaway: That was a tough, tough loss, but we responded well the next day against Alva and I think having the opportunity to play No. 1 at the time on our home floor was a great opportunity.
Cashion’s tournament saw five of its boys teams (Cashion, Perry, Crossings, Dale, OCS) reach the state tournament in their respective class. Dale and Perry each went 1-2 in the tournament. Hardaway knew there was no “settling” for fifth place.
Hardaway: It was the hardest tournament in Oklahoma for schools 4A and below, there’s no question about it. Going into that week, obviously we wanted to win it, but anyone that found a way to win two games had an incredible tournament.
Cashion made another big leap in the rankings, this time all the way to No. 3, but still behind Dale. That changed the next week when the Wildcats cranked it up to No. 2 behind Oklahoma Union.
Perry’s turnaround started after the Hooker (another state tournament team) loss. The Maroons were hosting undefeated Pawnee and were without Drake. Still, they managed to earn a 55-51 overtime win. They followed that up with a win at 3A No. 12 Hennessey.
Hight: Going into the game against an undefeated Pawnee team, I knew it could be a turning point in the season. It provided an opportunity for my other two leading scores - Jace Goldsberry and Braxton Dale - to step up and also some of those secondary guys to take on a different role. They did, which provided some much-needed confidence. I think it gave those guys the mindset of how good they can be when we get Mason back. Beating a well-coached and good Hennessey team just kept that momentum going as we won nine straight after the Hooker loss.
However, Perry’s losses were ill-timed. The Maroons ultimately fell out of the coveted top-eight and were ranked 10th when the playoff assignments were released by the OSSAA. That meant Perry had to potentially deal with two top-eight teams in its quest to get to the state tournament. The Maroons won their final five regular season games to enter the playoffs with an 18-5 record.
Hight: We finished the season outside the top-eight even though I always felt like we were a top-five team, therefore we had a tough regional and area draw. So we talked about, “you might as well beat the best to get to state.”
The end of Cashion’s regular season was nightmarish. One brilliant local sports writer - ahem - dubbed it “Hell Week” and Cashion’s broadcast crew ran with it on Twitter. The Wildcats’ final five games were played during an eight-day stretch. They played at county rival Crescent, hosted conference rival Okarche (never a fun team to play) and then at conference rival Hennessey ON CONSECUTIVE DAYS. The last of those three games was a make-up after potential inclement weather forced its postponement earlier in the season. That game also decided the conference’s regular season champion, another title Hennessey has owned the last handful of years. Cashion blew out Crescent, hung on against Okarche, then got an OT win at Hennessey.
Hardaway: The game at Hennessey was pretty awesome. Once again, they outplayed us most of that game. We go to OT and then find a way to win and clinch the first regular-season championship. Brady's program, his kids and the success they have had are beyond impressive.
Two days later, Cashion traveled to Crossings Christian for a chance to avenge its only loss of the year. It didn’t happen, but it was another nail-biter as Crossings won in overtime. And then, just three days after that, Dale visited for the regular-season finale. Cashion dropped the third-ranked Pirates for the second time this year, this time by a single point. Cashion’s final four games – in which it went 3-1 – were decided by a grand total of 12 points. The Wildcats were primed for the playoffs with a shinty 21-2 record and the No. 2 ranking in Class 2A.
Hardaway: Murderers’ row proved to our team and to others that we were ready for the playoffs. All of those games bring not only quality opponents, but very high emotions and we knew for five games in a row we would get everyone's best shot. Crescent, Okarche, Hennessey, Crossings, Dale. With the exception of the Crescent game, they all came down to the last few possessions, but even Crescent always gives us a tough test.
In Part II, we’ll take a deep dive into the playoff runs for the Maroons and Wildcats as they took slightly different paths to the state tournament.
| Ben Johnson
Jade Allison is set to become the girls basketball coach at Coweta High School, pending board approval on Monday night.
Allison, whose name appears on the Coweta Public Schools’ school board agenda, recently served as the girls basketball coach at Bishop Kelley, where she took over that post in 2010.
Desiree Booker served as the girls basketball coach during the 2019-2020 season. The Tigers went 16-10 and won an area championship and were poised to take on Del City in the opening round of the Class 5A state tournament. The event, however, was called off due to the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association having to cancel all high school sporting events the rest of the 2019-2020 school year, due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bishop Kelley girls went 9-17 this season and were eliminated from postseason play with a loss to East Central in area tournament 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]
“I 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 ‘thank you’ to Kingfisher and all the great people in it for always coming out and supporting me,” Cortes wrote in a statement on social media.
He continued: “Thank you to Coach (Lon) Kruger and the University of Oklahoma staff for believing in my talents. I’m proud to say that I am officially a Sooner! 110% COMMITTED.”
Cortes scored 26 points the previous night in Kingfisher’s 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, they’ve 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. He’s 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.
“OU just felt like home and the coaches there made me a main priority and they always text me telling me that I can be ‘that guy,’” 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 Norman’s proximity did play a role in his decision.
“Why not do it in the home state close to family?” he said. “That made me want to be a Sooner.”
Cortes knows he could have waited to see if other offers came in, but felt the timing was right to commit.
“I wasn’t like ‘I’m ready to get it over with,’” he said. “But I also knew for sure this was my favorite school and staff, so why wait?”
| Ben Johnson
Booker T. Washington’s head-coaching vacancy didn’t 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 Oklahoma’s Wantland Stadium.
But now that the season is over, one state senator is sounding off on the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association’s 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 year’s 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 don’t 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 didn’t want it be become a distraction. There’s enough of an outcry and a complaint that have a good point on why we played the game where we did and why we didn’t 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 weren’t going to face the ramifications of their school’s 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 ‘this is the state championship site,’ 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 everyone’s time and could be spent discussing something else?
There are thousands of bills filled every year -- some of them get picked up and some don’t. It doesn’t waste any more time in committee or on the floor. It’s the legislator’s job to conduct the people’s business, so if a community has an idea or wants to change something, it’s 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 there’s a problem, it’s 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, it’s 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 we’re playing. We don’t care where we play because we were going to win, and that’s 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 wouldn’t care one bit.
So you’re advocating to play the games at the University of Tulsa, if that’s a viable option?
You have to ask, ‘is this the best we can get?’ and I don’t think the current option is the best we can get. We’ve 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 we’re doubling the amount of people going to the game, they make more money -- or that’s how I understand it. I don’t understand at all why you wouldn’t 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. They’ve done the bye week because of the amount of teams in the playoff. Honestly, the whole 6AII thing has been a disaster. It’s handed Bixby a bunch of trophies, and it’s 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. It’s ridiculous for us to travel to Moore -- to play Southmoore or Moore -- and a team that can’t even fill up the home stands and play on a Thursday night. Like, why are we doing this? Why aren’t 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 it’s 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 that’s 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 don’t buy into the notion of ‘well, Texas does it this way, so we should do it this way.’ It’s the same way with basketball and the big schools playing in Tulsa. If Edmond and Putnam City are playing in the finals, then that’s the wrong decision. I’m not trying to whine; I’m trying to do what’s 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 don’t 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 aren’t in our community, then you don’t get as good of an outcome. That’s 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 it’s an agency with it’s 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 I’ve 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 Wolves’ head coach, a source with direct knowledge has told Skordle.
Shawnee was 92-84 in Brown’s tenure and reached the playoffs 10 times.
That included a trip to the 5A semifinals in 2004, Brown’s 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.
It’s good people.
With that said, I’m going to disagree - quite respectfully - with an editorial the newspaper ran Dec. 2 regarding the state high school football championships.
In case you weren’t aware, the OSSAA announced last month the University of Central Oklahoma’s 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.