All four of the seniors on this year’s Wildcat basketball team have their eyes on something gold this season. They’ve all been playing together since seventh-grade and feel like this is the year of Piedmont basketball.
Coach Ryan Wagner made shirts for the players that say “Team Us” on the front and “Play like a Wildcat 212 degrees” on the back. “212 degrees is when water boils,” senior John Stephens said. “At 211.9 degrees, nothing happens. You can be close to the best, but close isn’t good enough this season. That’s what 212 degrees means to everyone on the team.”
Keith Vick thinks that the days of people looking past Piedmont are about to be over.
“We used to have people say ‘Oh, it’s just Piedmont,’ ” Vicks said. “Well, we’re going to let our game talk for us this season, and let them know that it’s not just Piedmont anymore.”
“We were one game away last season,” Jimmy Guerra said, referring to last year’s loss to Vinita where they were just a game away from playing for a State tournament birth. “That was something to build off of. With the seniors having played together since seventh-grade, we really feel like this is our strongest point. We’re ready.”
Jacob Swigart summed up the Wildcats’ expectations. “We want to go harder than everyone else and be the best guys on the floor that night, no matter what. We’ll push harder and play better. We want to be the best.”
Last Friday’s practice marked the first day of official practices for state-wide basketball teams. “We still have ten or so guys who currently playing football that will suit up for us this season, and about seven of those guys will be wearing varsity jerseys,” coach Wagner said.
Piedmont will take part in five big scrimmages this year. Their preseason slate is highlighted by a trip to Tulsa to take part in the 10th Annual Tip-Off Classic. The Wildcats will be facing the likes of Bixby, Coewta, Verdigris, and Metro Christian Academy in what should be a great tune-up for Piedmont.