By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Here’s a laurel to the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association for common sense.
Moving the Class B Area I and Class A Area I basketball tournaments to Sunday was a wise decision with impending bad weather threatening to knock out games today.
Just wished the regional games at Chisholm and Perkins scheduled for today could have been moved to Sunday, too. The winners bracket games might have conflicted with church services, but this is a unique situation.
Another wise decision was moving the Area III Tournament from Cleveland to Enid’s Chisholm Trail Expo Center Coliseum.
Forget the bad weather here.
Why have three northwest Oklahoma teams (Burlington’s boys and girls and DCLA’s girls) and one at least fringe northwest Oklahoma team (Mulhall-Orlando) make a cross-country junket to Cleveland when they could play a lot closer to their backyard?
It saves on gas and anxiety and if the weather cooperates, makes for a better gate.
Actually, Burlington and DCLA should welcome playing in the Expo Center.
One, they’re used to playing there from the Cherokee Strip Tournament.
Two, the Coliseum resembles the State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City.
Burlington boys coach Randy Turney, in the past, has said that’s one reason he likes playing in the Coliseum.
History has proven the Coliseum usually helps prepare a team for state.
Remember, a decade ago when Stroud’s boys, led by Kevin Bookout, had to go through the losers bracket to win an area at the Coliseum, including a double overtime thriller over Chisholm?
This will be the fourth time Burlington and DCLA’s girls have played this season.
Burlington won the first two meetings — 51-43 at the NWOSU Prep Classic Semifinals on Jan. 11 behind the Garvie sisters which included 17 points from Sarah and 16 from Katelyn, and 55-40 at Burlington on Jan. 14 behind 28 points from Tiffany Rieger and 15 from Sarah Garvie.
DCLA got revenge in the regional finals, 42-31 on Feb. 16 at Cushing, behind 20 points from Jessica Blanton and 16 from Katy Starr.
The 31 points was the lowest scoring output of the season for the Lady Elks.
The Burlington girls will no doubt remember that the Lady Eagles knocked them out in the area losers bracket finals a year ago 28-22.
Blanton (13) and Starr (11) had 24 of DCLA’s 28 points. Rieger was held to 8, while Katelyn Garvie had 14.
DCLA’s girls are going for their third-straight trip to the state tournament.
Burlington’s girls haven’t been to state since 1997.
Burlington’s boys are going for their third-straight trip to state. It’s been one of Turney’s better coaching jobs. The Elks have been going with only seven players.
Mulhall-Orlando’s boys are in the area losers bracket finals for the second-straight year. They lost to Kinta a year ago after knocking off DCLA and Timberlake.
If there’s not 8-10 inches of snow on the ground, this would be a good one for area fans to go to.
Campbell is a News & Eagle sports writer.