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Piedmont gets feel-good win at Noble

Blake Colston
sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

NOBLE — It’s been a long, sometimes frustrating season for Piedmont’s girls basketball team.

But Friday night in Noble, the Lady Wildcats were all smiles on their way to a, 55-42, win over the Lady Bears in a game that Piedmont led by as many as 24 in the second half.

“Finally,” said leading scorer Maddie Sperle afterwards. “We’ve had such a long, hard season. It’s been exhausting, but it was nice to go out there and get a big win.”

Piedmont (5-15) tied its season-high for points in a game with 57 Friday, which it’s done three times previously. PHS shot just under 50 percent (13 of 27) in the first half and made 4 of 11 from 3-point range. The ‘Lady Cats moved the ball as well as they have all season.

“We’ve decided just to come together finally as a team,” Sperle said.

The ‘Cats led by 9, 18-9, after a quarter, by 16 at half and by 23 after three quarters. Piedmont held Noble (8-12) to 7 of 30 shooting in the first half, including 1 of 9 from beyond the arc and found easy baskets in transition off Lady Bears turnovers.

“That’s what we’ve been trying to do all season,” Sperle said of scoring in transition.

Piedmont has one regular season game remaining at Shawnee Tuesday before traveling to fifth-ranked Woodward for the opening round of the playoffs Thursday. It hopes to carry momentum into the postseason, where the Wildcats regular season record  won’t matter. Read more →

Newspaper contends school board improperly hired softball coach

Roger Pugh
editor@piedmontnewsonline.com

The Piedmont Board of Education voted Monday to hire a new girls softball coach, but the  Piedmont-Surrey Gazette maintains the board did not follow proper legal procedures in making the hire.

Gazette editor Roger Pugh attempted to object when the motion was made and seconded at the board meeting to  accept all of the retirement, resignations, employment and reemployment listed on Attachment A to the board agenda. Included on that attachment were the names of all of the people resigning, retiring, being reemployed, and newly employed, except for one, the name of the teacher/softball coach the board wanted to hire.

As Pugh was attempting to explain his concerns and to ask the board a question about the procedure, board chairman  Stanley Nance cut him off.

“We are in the middle of vote here. That’s a personnel matter and you need to take that up with the superintendent,” Nance said.

Nance then conducted the vote, and the board unanimously approved the adoption of schedule A, which included the unnamed coach.

Pugh later said he was trying to advise the board that the hire was not proper because no one was named. He also said he was concerned that the executive session that was held previous to the employment vote might be illegal and if not, certainly violated the spirit of the law because the law says, among other things, a public board is to identify, who is being discussed in executive session. Read more →

School patron asks questions

 

Roger Pugh
editor@piedmontnewsonline.com

Piedmont school district parent Shelly Torres told the school board she was appearing before them Monday because she could not get answers elsewhere to some questions she had about how funds were handled during the regional girl’ softball tournament.

She said she worked the gate for a softball regional tournament in Oct. of 2015 and was told by both Athletic Director Tom Ewing and Dr. James White, Superintendent of Piedmont Schools that tickets were not given out to anyone.

Torres said the two also told her they would decide how much to pay the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Athletic Association (OSSAA). OSSAA gets the gate collection at regional and state events.

At the end of the game Torres said she calculated the gate money and concession funds on her dated and time stamped notepad and handed the money and a full roll of tickets to Ewing. The tickets were supplied by OSSAA.

She said shortly after, head softball Coach Scott encountered problems with the school administration. He was later dismissed as softball coach by White.

Torres said she later contacted OSSAA when she learned that she was supposed to give out tickets to paying attendees as required by OSSAA rules.

In a later interview following her brief appearance before the school board Monday, Torres said OSSAA pulled Piedmont’s file and told her 63 tickets were gone from the roll, which equals $315 in receipts. However, Torres said her dated and time stamped document showed they had collected $515. She also explained that she looked at the softball detailed operating account (DOA) and there was not a $515.00 deposit showing for that day. Read more →

Myatt wins board seat without runoff

Roger Pugh
editor@piedmontnewsonline.com

Zachary Myatt has apparently captured a seat on the Piedmont Board of Education without having to face a runoff in the three-person race.

In unofficial results from the Canadian County election Board Tuesday, Myatt captured 398 votes, or 50.13 percent of the total votes cast, while second -place finisher Brent Storts had 314 votes for 39/55 percent, and the third candidate, Jana Kerby had 82 votes, for 10.33 percent of the total votes cast.

Blasdel unopposed for council seat

Roger Pugh
editor@piedmontnewsonline.com

Kevan Blasdel, 68, a resident of Windmill Park was the only candidate to file for the Ward I Piedmont City Council seat.

Running unopposed, Blasdel is automatically elected and will take the seat being vacated by outgoing Ward I councilman Robert Simpson.

 

 

Coleman excited for opportunity in Piedmont

Blake Colston
sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

Muskogee’s Keith Coleman isn’t naive to the situation he’ll inherit as Piedmont’s new head softball coach this fall.

Coleman knows about the saga that ended former head coach Rick Scott’s 15-year tenure as head coach. He knows about Scott’s popularity and his 10 trips to the state tournament.

Muskogee coach Keith Coleman, right, consoles senior Shaylee Rowland after the Lady Roughers’ 13-12 loss to Southmoore in the semifinals of the Class 6A state softball tournament at the Ball Fields at Firelake in Shawnee last season.

Muskogee coach Keith Coleman, right, consoles senior Shaylee Rowland after the Lady Roughers’ 13-12 loss to Southmoore in the semifinals of the Class 6A state softball tournament at the Ball Fields at Firelake in Shawnee last season.

All of that, in fact, was a big part of what lured Coleman from the town he became a high school star for, and later, won a slow pitch state title with in 2009.

“I really appreciated how strongly the community supported coach Scott. It shows me how passionate they are about softball and how loyal they were to the coach,” said Coleman, who’s coached at Muskogee High School since 2004.

Coleman said he wouldn’t have taken the job without first getting Scott’s blessing.

“I’ve been transparent with him through the whole process,” Colemand said in a phone interview Wednesday.  “I told him if I didn’t have his blessing I wouldn’t take the job.”

Scott told The Gazette via text message that he supports Coleman and hopes that he does well in Piedmont.

The first step in winning over Scott’s former players, their parents and the fans, Coleman said, is the same as it would be anywhere.  Read more →

Piedmont wrestling ready for Dual State

Blake Colston
sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

For the fourth consecutive season, Piedmont will wrestle at Dual State. This year, though, the Wildcats would like to remember more than just being there.

Blake Colston/Gazette Michael Brown, right, tries to gain control in his match against Yukon's Chase Vincent.

Blake Colston/Gazette
Michael Brown, right, tries to gain control in his match against Yukon’s Chase Vincent earlier this season.

Seeded third, Piedmont will wrestle second-seeded Coweta in the quarterfinals at 4 p.m on Friday at Firelake Arena in Shawnee, and the Wildcats would like to earn a victory, their first in four tries at Dual State.

“It would be huge to be able to wrestle in the semifinals and give yourself a chance to win one more match and wrestle for a trophy,” head coach Erik Ford said. “It would be a lot of fun.”

Piedmont hasn’t wrestled poorly at Dual State, it’s simply faced better competition. The Wildcats have lost to defending Dual State champion Collinsville in each of the last two seasons, and four seasons ago as a member of 4A, lost to Wagoner in a dual decided by one match.

“Coweta is really tough, but I think we match up well with them,” Ford said. “To beat them we’re going to have to win at a couple weights where they’re really good and we are, too, and we have to win all of the toss-ups.”

Coweta reached the finals of Dual State last year, falling to Collinsville, 36-33, but Piedmont wrestled well all of January and Ford said the Wildcats are ready for the step up in competition.

“The wins we’ve had are against solid teams, but no one quite like this,” Ford said. “The losses we’ve had are against really good teams. I don’t think we’ve faced anyone this similar to us.”

There are a couple of weights Ford said he could make a change to his lineup against Coweta, but didn’t expect many alterations.

“It’s going to be the same faces we’ve had in our dual lineup all year,” Ford said. Read more →

Quinn’s resolve leads Piedmont down the stretch

Blake Colston
sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

Addaryl Quinn’s high school basketball career has been, to be cliché, a rollercoaster ride.

This season, his final at Piedmont, has been no different. His assist-to-turnover ratio illustrates the brutal start that not only Quinn, but the Wildcats entire team, had to start this season.

Blake Colston/Gazette Addaryl Quinn of Piedmont carries the ball into the open floor Friday night.

Blake Colston/Gazette
Addaryl Quinn of Piedmont carries the ball into the open floor Friday night.

“I did not expect the season to start like that,” he said plainly. “There were too many turnovers by me and I got really down on myself. I didn’t have any confidence.”

But as Quinn always has, he’s bounced back. After Piedmont started 1-6 overall, Quinn spent the Christmas holiday restoring confidence in his game.

“I told myself it’s not all about me, it’s about the team,” he said. “They were going to pick up their play and I knew I had to pick up mine.”

Both have happened. Piedmont’s won five more games since logging just one win in seven tries before Christmas, and Quinn is back to doing what he does best – dishing out assists, getting to the basket and drawing fouls. Quinn leads Piedmont in many of the player analytics the coaching staff uses to assess who’s playing well and who is not.

“His ability to bounce back has been amazing,” PHS head coach Troy Lallemand said. “There’s no other player on our team that could’ve handled what he had to handle those first seven games.”

Now Piedmont’s starting point guard of almost two full seasons and the team’s unquestioned floor general, Quinn barely touched the floor for the varsity team for his first two seasons of high school ball.

As Quinn puts it, the time he did get as a freshman and sophomore ‘didn’t prepare him to run the team’ like Piedmont needed the past two seasons. So it says a lot that Lallemand prefers to have Quinn on the floor as much as possible now. He’s earned his coach’s full trust through tireless work.

“He’s a student of the game. He watches a ton of film and he gets better,” Lallemand said. “I want our young kids around him to see how he handles himself. I want them to learn from him because he’s a leader.”

Quinn’s basketball intelligence allows him to find rebounds – he’s second on the team with just under four per game though he’s only about 6-feet tall – and to use his quickness to get to the basket.

“I’ll just use a shot fake or multiple moves and counter moves to do what I have to do to go score,” he said of driving the ball against defenses that sag off to take away his drive.

The most poignant moment of Quinn’s entire basketball career might’ve come just before he became a freshman at PHS.

“Nobody knows, but in middle school I didn’t even make the team,” Quinn said. “I didn’t even really want to play basketball anymore.”

That’s where Quinn’s roller coaster ride began, probably, but it’s also when he developed his strong work ethic, too. His family urged him to keep playing. Quinn agreed, but refused to stay on the bench.

“It’s about putting in extra work,” he said. “I’ve grown tremendously since then. I’ve put in a lot of time and hard work.”

Now the bench is the last place Lallemand want Quinn to be.

“He gets it,” the coach said. “He’s the total player and total person.”

Total team effort leads Piedmont past No. 4 El Reno

Blake Colston
sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

Brant Ranney said it was a matter of time.

Blake Colston/Gazette Trevor Bailey tries to finish around a pair of El Reno defenders Friday night at Collett Fieldhouse.

Blake Colston/Gazette
Trevor Bailey tries to finish around a pair of El Reno defenders Friday night at Collett Fieldhouse.

A matter of time until Piedmont, which lost six of seven games during a stretch in January, found its winning ways again.

The Wildcats (7-13) are indeed back on track, after upsetting No. 4 El Reno, 83-76, Friday night behind 26 points from Adokiye Iyaye, 21 from Addaryl Quinn and 16 from Ranney. It’s Piedmont’s third win in four games with the only loss coming at top-ranked Carl Albert.

“I would say we’re playing our best basketball right now. All the loose ends we had are starting to come together,” Ranney said. “It just took some time.”

In a back-and-forth game, it was unranked Piedmont that made the plays down the stretch. Trailing by one, 58-57, entering the final quarter, Trevor Bailey gave Piedmont a 3-point lead with 5:37 to play with a contested basket in the paint. The Wildcats held the lead for the remainder of the game.

“I’m so proud of how tough we’re playing,” head coach Troy Lallemand said. “They’re just playing with confidence right now and it’s right when we need to have it.” Read more →

Organ, Rader success stories for Piedmont swim

Blake Colston
sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

Swim was never, and probably never will be, something Piedmont senior Holly Organ takes too seriously.

Photo Provided Holly Organ swims at the state meet last season in Edmond.

Photo Provided
Holly Organ swims at the state meet last season in Edmond.

She works during the week, so she doesn’t make every practice. In the summer, when top swimmers from around Oklahoma are busy on the club circuit, Organ is nowhere to be found. Organ doesn’t spend hours of her own time in the pool, either, although she lifeguards in the summers.

But make no mistake, she’s a success story. Roughly four years ago as a freshman, Organ wasn’t sure what to expect when she came out for the team. At the time, she was new to competitive swim. Now a senior — the Lady Wildcats only senior — Organ is a leader.

“I’ve had a bigger role because I’m the oldest and fastest,” she said. “Everyone just looked up to me and I went with it.”

Tuesday, in a meet at Edmond’s Mitch Park YMCA, Organ made, perhaps, the highlight of her career. She finished third overall in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 1.05.18 against a field chalked full of 5 and 6A competition.

“I usually swim the 100, but I’ve never tried that hard in it,” she admitted. “It’s always just kind of come natural.”

The fast time came as an even bigger surprise to Organ, who expected her time to go up after a Christmas break layoff. Instead, she was more than two seconds quicker than ever before.

“I think it’s just because I didn’t swim my first event,” she said of skipping the 50-freestyle.

Organ hopes to qualify for state in one of her two events after swimming there as part of Piedmont’s relay team last season. After high school, she plans to attend The University Northern Colorado and eventually hopes to become a dentist.

Organ will keep swimming as a hobby, she said. And though it’s never become a serious passion of Organ’s, she said the four-year commitment has had a big impact on her.

“I’ve learned a lot about myself as a person,” she said.

Rader enjoying first season with Piedmont swim

Cade Rader, like Organ, is never likely to plan his life around swimming. But he’s also just as likely to speak up about how much he’s enjoyed his first season with Piedmont.

Rader quit club swimming in the summer, but didn’t want to give up swim completely, so he joined Piedmont’s team.

“Swimming with a team of people my age is a lot different,” he said. “It’s really nice to swim them. The teamwork is great.”

He swims primarily the freestyle, but has added the butterfly and backstroke recently. He’s lowered his time in the 50-freestyle from around 30 seconds to 26 and is also a part of the Wildcats fast-improving B relay team.

“Greatly. My time has gotten a lot better,” he said of the difference being on the team has made. “School swim is a lot different and it’s helped me.”

As a team, Piedmont’s boys took sixth at the Putnam City Invitational. The Lady Wildcats were ninth out of 12 teams.

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