By Evan Grice
While the weather outside has been frightful as of late, it hasn’t stopped the Piedmont basketball teams from tweaking and improving on the court.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t been through game situations as the games between Western Heights and Kingfisher were both cancelled this week. WHHS was cancelled due to the icy road conditions, while the Kingfisher game was postponed due to the Yellow Jacket football team still being in the state football playoffs this week.
Regardless of the chaos and confusion which has erupted due to the sudden changes in the schedule, both the Wildcats and Lady Wildcats have both been dealing in their own separate ways.
“Obviously we’re disappointed that we haven’t gotten to play a game since Deer Creek,” Piedmont girls coach Jamie Hill said. “But, the good thing is we’ve been practicing well and maintaining our focus. On Tuesday we just took a mental break from the court and lifted some weights before doing a team bonding Zumba workout together.”
“It’s extremely important that we maintain some sort of routine,” Hill added. “We don’t want the girls to lose focus of what we are trying to accomplish this season. We want to keep our minds set on our goals and keep pushing forward all the time.”
Senior guard Alex Hall said it’s been a blessing just getting to practice these past few days, along with crediting her coaches for keeping the players on their toes.
“It’s definitely good being able to get together the past few days,” she said. “A lot of us have been doing individual things as well to try and stay in shape during this time. Coach (Jamie) Hill and Coach (Kara) Beal have also been in constant contact with us, which has definitely helped keep our spirits up.”
For the No. 5 ranked Wildcats, it’s been all about fixing the little things that didn’t go right against Deer Creek and not worrying about how long it’s been since they have played a competitive game.
“This process has been difficult, there’s no question about it,” Piedmont boys coach Ryan Wagner said. “Thankfully though, we have a veteran team and they are coping as best as they can with the situation. Overall, this wouldn’t be such a big deal if we would have had played some more games.”
“But, we’ve only had one game and that’s the big negative in all of this. It’s really hard on the coaching staff because we need games to be able to evaluate players and see where we can keep improving.”
Barring any more unforeseen schedule changes, the Wildcats and Lady Wildcats will be back in action next Friday at the Deer Creek/Bishop McGuinness Festival. PHS will open with Mount Saint Mary on Friday at 3 p.m. from Deer Creek High School before facing off with Bishop McGuinness on Saturday.
For Coach Hill and her squad, it will present the second straight game in which the No. 4 Lady Wildcats will play a team ranked in the top-five of the state. The Lady Rockets currently sit at No. 5 in Class 4A with a 1-1 record. Meanwhile Bishop McGuinness is currently ranked No. 15 in the latest polls, and was defeated by top-ranked Shawnee Tuesday night on the road.
“We scrimmages Mount Saint Mary in Tulsa, and I thought we showed we could compete with them,” Hall said. “After taking down the No. 1 team in Class 5A, we feel very confident we can beat anyone right now.”
Teammate and fellow senior Sydney Morrison said the first game of the festival is all about earning some respect.
“We want to prove ourselves, especially against Mount Saint Mary,” she said. “They beat us at Bixby during the scrimmage and we have a reason to come back now.”
On the boys’ side of things, the Wildcats will be facing their first top-five team of the season in the No. 4 Irish next Saturday, but will first have to get through a tricky game against the Rockets on Friday.
“Friday against Mount Saint Mary is going to be a take care of business type of game for us,” Wagner said. “We will have to be at our absolute best on Saturday against McGuinness. They’re going to play a very wide zone or triangle and two defensively. Offensively, they will run a UCLA four across style of offense. They’ve got two big post players at 6’6” and 6’7” that we need to be ready for.”
Following their games at the Deer Creek/Bishop McGuinness Festival, the Wildcats and Lady Wildcats will be off until the new year begins.
January 7 will see Piedmont return to action as they will take on Chickasha before traveling to the Bethany Tournament.