Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
POND CREEK, Okla. —
No one likely appreciated more what winning the gold ball meant than Tasha Diesselhorst when her Pond Creek-Hunter girls beat Seiling 32-30 in the Class A state finals on March 8.
Her father Randy Turney — who won almost 800 games in his career and made 12 state tournament appearances — never got one in his 30-plus-year career.
“It was something that I dreamed of ever since I was a little girl,’’ said Diesselhorst, voted by her peers as the 2014 Enid News & Eagle Northwest Oklahoma Girls Basketball Coach of the Year. “It was everything that I dreamed it would be.
“People don’t understand how hard it is to get there and win it. To be able to share it with him is something that I will never forget. It will be a memory that will be with me forever.’’
Like her dad, she is intense, but caring. She doesn’t take the game home with her.
“I think that’s how it is with all coaches,’’ she said. “We all coach for the moment. The girls understand how we are on the court. Off the court, they’re my family. They know that I would do anything for them in the game of basketball and they would do the same things for me.’’
The Lady Panthers didn’t have an easy road to the state title. They knew the disappointment of losing two games in the area tournament in 2012 when they came into it undefeated.
Last year they made state, but lost to Cheyenne-Reydon in the first round with star player Jade Jones hobbled by a knee injury that required surgery.
The Lady Panthers’ (28-1) lone loss this season came to Frontier 62-43 in the area winners bracket finals.
“Everything they had gone through prepared them for this season,’’ Diesselhorst said. “When we got down to the state tournament, we just relaxed and took advantage of every opportunity given to them. We got on a roll and played three good games in a row (59-30 over Cache, 48-35 over Cheyenne-Reydon and 32-30 over Seiling).’’
Diesselhorst has been at Pond Creek-Hunter for seven years, the only job she’s ever had
“The best thing I ever did for Jade’s career was hiring Tasha,’’ said Pond Creek-Hunter athletic director and boys basketball coach Darin Jones, the father of high-scoring Jade. “She taught her how to dribble and shoot. She is such a positive role model for the girls.’’
She has coached the 2014 seniors from the time they were in the sixth grade.
“The bond forms early,’’ she said. “You get to watch them grow up. The most rewarding thing about coaching is just interacting with the kids and watching them grow up. When the season is over, you miss being around them all the time and the fun times you share together.’’
She might have a special bond with Jade Jones with both being daughters of coaches. When Jones was in the seventh grade, she drew a picture of a gold ball and told Diesselhorst she would get her one of those.
“That’s been on my wall ever since,’’ Diesselhorst said. “That’s why it was so special. I was so happy for her and the other girls. It was a great ending to a great season.’’
Diesselhorst’s father was the boys coach of the year in his final season a year ago, the last of eight awards he received. That makes this one more special for her.
“I think it’s a huge honor with the coaches that we have in northwest Oklahoma,’’ she said. “I feel very honored and very blessed.’’�