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Christmas holiday presents tough foe for local teams

High school winter sports, like basketball and wrestling, have an interesting quirk that sets them  apart from nearly every other sport.  Just as the season gets underway, coaches lose their kids for two weeks. How they adapt to the lost time and how long it takes them to get their momentum back can be a real sign of a successful team.
Coaches have been with their teams almost every school day this semester, whether in off season work outs or practices. Now, the players will disperse on family vacations and other holiday events.
“We have open gym until the 23, it’s not required,” boys coach Ryan Wagner said. “Then we start practices back up on the 26. We play a couple of scrimmages before things get going again.
“Since we’ve been here, the kids always get better after the break,” Wagner explained. “There are 10 days of nothing but basketball. They get better and get stronger (before the season starts again.)
Girls coach George Wagner said that fundamentals and conditioning are their biggest focuses after the break. While the week or so break might not seem like a long time, there are a lot of factors that can contribute to break downs when the team gets back.
High school winter sports, like basketball and wrestling, have an interesting quirk that sets them  apart from nearly every other sport.  Just as the season gets underway, coaches lose their kids for two weeks. How they adapt to the lost time and how long it takes them to get their momentum back can be a real sign of a successful team.Coaches have been with their teams almost every school day this semester, whether in off season work outs or practices. Now, the players will disperse on family vacations and other holiday events.“We have open gym until the 23, it’s not required,” boys coach Ryan Wagner said. “Then we start practices back up on the 26. We play a couple of scrimmages before things get going again.”“Since we’ve been here, the kids always get better after the break,” Wagner explained. “There are 10 days of nothing but basketball. They get better and get stronger (before the season starts again.)Girls coach George Wagner said that fundamentals and conditioning are their biggest focuses after the break. While the week or so break might not seem like a long time, there are a lot of factors that can contribute to break downs when the team gets back.
“As soon as we come back, we get back to work,” George Wagner explained. “We continue to work on shooting and dribbling. We have to get ready for the hard run during this part of the season.”
This year, the Piedmont girls have scheduled scrimmages against Okarche of Class A and Mustang of Class 6A.
Those extra practices and time spent with teammates can be vital as the season progresses. As Ryan Wagner said, there are 10 days of nothing but basketball. The athletes get a chance to make their sport their one and only focus, and that singular focus now will pay big dividends come February and March. With all the talk of state and gold balls, fans have to believe that Piedmont will come back ready after their short break.
“The first week off we practice Monday through Wednesday,” wrestling coach Erik Ford said. “We work hard. These are some of our hardest practices.”
The wrestlers will get a short break for Christmas, then start back up with practices and scrimmages the following Monday through Thursday.
“We don’t want these guys to go two weeks without wrestling,” Ford explained. “It can be tough to come back after that much time off. During their break, we encourage them to go out and run and keep their feet under them.”
The basketball teams return to action on Jan. 4 against rival Deer Creek. Piedmont then travels to Bethany for the Southern Nazarene  University Tournament on Jan. 6 through 8. Bethany is about a 30 minute drive, so the Wildcats are hoping to see the stands full of blue and gold clad fans.
“We need everyone to come out and support us,” Ryan Wagner said.
The wrestling team resumes their schedule on Jan. 7 at the Cushing Invitational. They then host their first home dual of the year against Weatherford on Jan. 10. With the success that Piedmont has had early this year, there’s no reason that fans can’t come out for a dual at Collett.

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