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Archive for: June 2015

Morris gets late invite to All-State softball game

Blake Colston

Few things could’ve gotten Madi Morris’ mind off the week-long Caribbean cruise she was on last week.

A late invite to the All-State softball game set for Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. at Oklahoma Christian made the list.

Morris’ head coach, Rick Scott, contacted Morris via Facebook message while she was on her cruise near the Grand Cayman Islands to tell her the good news. Morris, who was named an alternate to the team when it was first announced, was needed Saturday in Oklahoma City.

Madi Morris and Michelle Brandon will represent the West team on Saturday in Oklahoma City.

Madi Morris and Michelle Brandon will represent the West team on Saturday in Oklahoma City.

“I was really excited and very honored to get it,” she said. “I was really disappointed I didn’t get it in the beginning, but I said maybe someone won’t be able to go when it happens. I’m very thankful I got a spot.”

Scott thought it was only right that Morris ended up in the game.

“I’m prejudice because I thought she should’ve been on there the whole time. Fortunately it all worked out for her,” he said.

Morris had a planned family reunion to Arkansas this weekend, but quickly canceled those plans when she found out she had a chance to play.

Instead, now most of her immediate family will attend the game Saturday.

“This was a huge opportunity for me that only happens once,” she said. “So I think everyone understood.”
Morris said she won’t be rusty, either. She’s been working out at her travel ball teams’ facility this summer while playing on the weekends and is in good shape.

“I played really well the last weekend with my travel team,” she said. “I’m very excited for the game.” Read more →

Piedmont to send five to All-State soccer Friday

Blake Colston

Piedmont will be well represented in Friday night’s Class 5A All-State soccer games at Noble High School.

First, a trio of Lady Wildcat players — goalie Kelsey Meier, forward Bianca Cardenas and midfielder Caitlin Lewis will play for the West team in the girls game, which kicks off at 6 p.m.

This marks the third consecutive season the Lady Wildcats have had at least three representatives in the game.

Cardenas and Lewis have signed to play with The University of Science and Arts Oklahoma in Chickasha next season.

Following the conclusion of the girls game, the boys game will begin, with forward Thomas Spencer and middle back Jake Loper representing Piedmont.

The boys team will be coached by Heritage Hall’s Tommy Riley, while Robyn Brewster, also of Heritage Hall, will coach the West girls.

Last season, Piedmont girls head coach Brad Brucker assisted the West team as Lady Wildcats’ Jordan Hendren, Morgan Wilson and Taylor Baurcihter took part in the All-State game at Muskogee High School.

Ewing says interview process not underway yet

Blake Colston

Piedmont’s vacant girls head basketball coaching position remains open and is likely to remain that way for the near future.

When contacted by phone on Tuesday afternoon, PHS athletic director Tom Ewing told The Gazette that the school had not yet begun the process of conducting interviews for the position and recently reposted the job.

Ewing attributed the relatively slow hiring process to an abnormally high number of girls basketball coaching positions becoming available this summer.

Piedmont’s position came open after former head coach Jamie Hill left for the same role at Tulsa Union High School.

For now, newly hired assistant coach Ryan Burcham, formerly an assistant at Guthrie High School, is coaching the Lady Wildcats’ summer league team.

Piedmont Takes on Edmond North in Summer Baseball Action

Daniel Smola




EDMOND – Piedmont baseball faced Edmond North in a summer baseball  tournament game on Thursday at Edmond North High School. The Huskies downed the Wildcats 15-5 in four and a half innings.

Assistant coach Todd Brown said the team was put in a tough position, but it needs to execute better.

“We’ve got some guys that we have to put in a tough position because in summer ball we play almost every day and double headers most days,” he said. “So it’s tough on the pitching. We have to pitch some guys that don’t normally pitch and it puts them in a tough position, but we’ve still got to go out and execute better than we did.”

After bringing the score to 6-5 in the top of the fourth inning, the Wildcats were unable to slow down the Huskies as they scored nine runs in the bottom of the fourth.

“We fought back, we battled back … got back to 6-5 and then we just couldn’t find a way to get out of that fourth inning,” Brown said.

Coach Brown named a few players in particular that he has seen improvement in during the summer.

“Noah Ellis has swung the bat really well so far this summer. And he’s been really consistent so far,” he said. “Brayden Nelson has swung the bat well for us as well. He’s pitched two games for us and thrown well both times.”

Ellis is batting .500 with 8 hits and 3 RBIs this summer. Nelson is batting .312 with 5 hits and 3 RBIs along with 3 strikeouts.

Brown went on to say that summer baseball is all about growing as individuals as well as a team.

“We want each player to get better individually and also get better as a program,” he said. “We want to win every game we go play because we are competitive, but at the same time the main goal is getting guys better so they are in a better position to play well in the spring.”

Brown also talked about the senior class and how they will have to step into leadership roles.

“Those guys are really going to have to step up and be the guys that lead the way for us in the spring,” he said. “We’re doing some things for them to get them used to taking the reins and be those leaders for us not only in the summer here but going into spring ball.”

Smola picks Warriors over Lebron, Cavs in six games

Daniel Smola

The stage is set.

The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers have advanced to the NBA Finals and will play in Game 1 tonight.

The Warriors are the top seed coming out of the rugged Western Conference. They have a 12-3 record in the playoffs and defeated the second-seeded Houston Rockets 4-1 in the Western Conference Finals.

Gazette intern Daniel Smola picked Golden State to win the NBA championship.

Gazette intern Daniel Smola picked Steph Curry and Golden State to win the NBA championship.

League MVP Stephen Curry is averaging 29.2 PPG, 6.4 APG and 4.9 RPG in the playoffs while shattering the playoff record for 3-pointers made, 73 and counting, in nine less games than previous record holder Reggie Miller.

The Cavaliers are the second seed in the Eastern Conference with a 12-2 playoff record. They swept the top seed Atlanta Hawks 4-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals to advance to the NBA Finals.

LeBron James has led the Cavaliers back to the Finals for the first time since he took his talents to South Beach. LeBron is averaging 27.6 PPG, 8.3 APG and 10.4 RPG in the playoffs and became the first non-Celtic to play in five consecutive NBA Finals.

So here we are. The season’s best player on the season’s best team against the best player in the world on the hottest team in the playoffs.

LeBron had a great quote when asked how to slow down Curry: “The same way you slow me down … You can’t,” he said.

Certainly LeBron and Curry will get their points, but this series will come down to which role players step up and play to the magnitude of the event. One of these players for the Warriors is guard Klay Thompson.

Thompson, who is averaging 19.7 PPG in the playoffs, suffered a concussion after a nasty collision with the knee of Trevor Ariza against the Rockets in the Warriors’ series-clinching win. As of Monday, Warriors coach Steve Kerr says “I expect him there” and start to in Game 1.

Another Thompson – Tristan Thompson – has been a force on the glass for the Cavaliers, averaging 9.9 RPG in the playoffs. His play, along with the Cavaliers’ bench players, has put rookie head coach David Blatt in position to win his first NBA title.

Blatt, joined by fellow rookie head coach Steve Kerr, makes it guaranteed that a rookie head coach will win an NBA title for the first time in over 30 years. Read more →

Piedmont wraps up spring football practice

Blake Colston

Last week, Piedmont wrapped up what second-year head coach Drew Gossen characterized as a successful session of spring football practices.

The Wildcats completed a total of seven practices, including one day of team camp at Choctaw High School, with the final scheduled day of camp washed out due to rain and lightning.

“Overall it went pretty well,” Gossen said. “I felt like we got quite a bit accomplished and got people accustomed to things.”

The most pressing items in the spring were developing quarterbacks Noah Ellis and Easton Hensley, who will continue to battle for the starting job into the fall, and adding new wrinkles to the offense that Gossen said center around his players reading and reacting to the defense more freely.

“To the naked eye we’ll probably look the same, but there will definitely be some changes to the mental side of things,” he said. “It’s more to give our kids a chance to read the defense and react to it.”

Although both quarterbacks played well in limited action this spring, neither separated themselves from the other. Gossen left open the possibility both could see time next season if the competition remains too close to call into the fall.

“It’s one of those things we will continue to work and see who emerges from that spot. We’re not going to rush with that decision,” he said. “I’m not really opposed to playing two. I’m going to do whatever gives us the best chance to win games.”

Piedmont has 7-on-7 drills set for late June and continues its summer pride program into August, something Gossen said is vitally important to success next season.
“It’s huge. It’s one of the biggest things we do,” he said. “We take a lot of pride in the way we do things. We want to make sure those kids are in there building not just strength physically, but mentally as well as forming some camaraderie among each other.”

So far, this team’s work ethic has been ‘unrelenting,’ according to Gossen. A strength of Piedmont last season appears to be present again this year, which gives the coach confidence heading into the offseason that his team can compete for a playoff spot in a difficult Class 5A District II.

“To be quite honest with you I was interested to see if that culture would hold true,” he said. “You just never know from one group to another. So it was nice to see that carry over. We’ve got a long ways to go, but I feel confident about this group.”

Ewing says process of hiring new coach underway

Blake Colston

Piedmont athletic director Tom Ewing says the process of hiring a new girls basketball coach to replace former head coach Jamie Hill, who left for the same position at Tulsa Union last week, has begun and will be completed ‘as soon as possible.’

“We don’t have a real time frame,” Ewing said when contacted on Tuesday. “We haven’t determined that yet, but it’s something we’d like to get started on quickly.”

Applications have already begun to come in since the job was posted on the Oklahoma Coaches Association website Friday, and Ewing said he expects to start reviewing them and making calls this week.

Superintendent James White and high school principal Layne Jones will also be involved in the hiring process, Ewing said.

Ewing declined to name specific qualities he’ll look for in a prospective replacement for Hill, but will do so with the players and their families in mind, noting that there have been an unusually high number of girls coaching jobs open this offseason.

“We understand that this is important to our student-athletes and their parents and we will do our best to find the right person for the job,” he said.

Piedmont’s most attractive quality to coaches, Ewing said, will be the type of kids the new coach will be around.

“Beyond that we’ve got a school system I consider one of the best around, and thirdly we’ve had some success here through the last few years in girls basketball,” he said.

Ewing thanked Hill for her contributions to Piedmont’s program.

“I’m very happy for Jamie,” he said. “She came here and coached three different sports and I thought she did a great job in all three. I wish her well and hope she has success in Tulsa.”

Hill’s successor will inherit a program that’s gone 40-11 combined in the last two seasons with two state tournament appearances and a third with Hill on the sidelines as an assistant coach in 2012.

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