By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Oklahoma Bible Academy’s boys enter the 2012-13 basketball season with confidence after a year in head coach Alan Ford’s system.
“It’s a night and day difference from last year,’’ said Ford, whose team will host Waukomis in the second half of a girls-boys doubleheader tonight.
“I know what to expect now, where at this time period last year I didn’t know who was going to get a lot of playing time. I feel much more confident now.’’
The Trojans were 6-19 last season, but won four of their last six games, including a 58-48 win over Mooreland in the regional tournament.
OBA will be starting Blaine Whitson, Tanner Roberts, Preston Atwood, Adam Eaton and Dillon White.
Adrian Moore, a returning starter, will miss at least the early portion of the season due to injuries from football.
“We have matured a lot,’’ Ford said. “That’s where our biggest improvement has been. We know when to pass up the shot or when to take it or when to drive and when not to drive.’’
Ford’s goal is to have a team “which can dictate whatever pace it is,’’ — slower against more athletic teams, but can play uptempo when the numbers are there.
“It’s good to have that leeway,’’ Ford said.
All five starters participated either in cross country or football, but are back in basketball mindset.
“We have stuck with our system,’’ Ford said. “We haven’t had to do a lot of teaching like we did last year. It’s more reviewing and getting back into it. They have transitioned very well. We have been working hard the last two weeks to be mentally and physically ready to go.’’
OBA opened last season with a 72-39 win at Waukomis.
The Chiefs, 3-18 last season, return five players with starting experience — 6-foot-3 senior center Jess Click (11.9 ppg), 5-10 senior guard Tyler Terrel (10.1), 5-10 sophomore guard Josh Cook (3.2), 5-9 sophomore guard Alex Byers (3.0) and 5-10 senior guard Trevor Howard (2.7).
“We should show a lot of improvement over last year,’’ said Waukomis coach Dale Bledsoe.
“We know Waukomis will play sound fundamental basketball,’’ Ford said. “We’ll see if we can’t have a good opening night and go from there.’’
OBA’s girls, under new coach Patrick Rich, return one starter from last year’s 10-14 team — 5-9 senior post Brooke Wayman.
She’ll be joined in the starting lineup by 5-11 junior post Andi Messenger, 5-7 freshman guard Ashley Atwood, 5-6 sophomore guard Madison Price and 5-6 sophomore point guard Erin Coffin.
“We’re very excited,’’ said Rich, who will be making his head coaching debut. “We looked good in our two scrimmages. We have worked really hard and we’re excited to see what we can do Friday night.’’
Rich said the Lady Trojans will be a “high octane’’ team.
“We want to push the ball and make transition points and play tough defense,’’ Rich said. “I know we’re in good shape. We have run a lot in practice.’’
Rich, an assistant at Chisholm last year and a former Fairview star, said his team has “a good understanding’’ of the new system.
“We have come a long ways,’’ he said. “They have had to learn a lot, but they have picked it up fast.’’
Waukomis returns four starters from a 21-6 team which reached the area tournament — 5-9 senior guard Sadie Perry (9.7), 6-1 senior post Kacie Mack (10.2), 5-6 senior point guard Kaity Kokojan (7.6) and 5-10 senior forward Alexa Harris (9.6).
“We’re looking forward to a successful season,’’ said Lady Chiefs coach Matt Cue. “We feel the whole team plays well.’’
Rich admits to being a “little nervous,’’ especially opening with a quality opponent.
“It’s going to be a very good competition for us,’’ Rich said. “We’ll see how we do.’’