By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Saturday was an emotional day for Kremlin-Hillsdale girls coach Tana Turney, and not just because her Lady Broncs had to go overtime before beating Covington-Douglas 57-55.
Turney coached Covington-Douglas last season and still had a close bond with many of the Lady Wildcats.
“It was very, very tough,’’ she said. “It was a little bittersweet.’’
Both coach and ex-players had a tear or two seeing each other after the game.
“You want to win for your program, but you still want to see those girls succeed in every aspect of their lives,’’ Turney said. “You want the best for them. It wasn’t good for either one of us. You just wish them the best of luck for the rest of the season.’’
The two teams could meet again in the Cherokee Tournament next month.
“I was glad it was over with,’’ Turney said. “We still might have to do it one more time.’’
The win, though, was a sign of further progress for the 3-6 Lady Broncs, who have matched last year’s victory total.
“We’re getting better and better with every game,’’ Turney said. “That was a big win for my program.’’
Kremlin-Hillsdale had fought back from an early 10-point deficit in the first quarter. Calli Kaiser, who had 19 points for the Lady Wildcats, “was hitting everything she put up.’’
Katie Davis, who scored 25 points, hit a three to sent it into overtime.
“To get it into overtime was a big accomplishment for us,’’ Turney said.
Turney had stressed all season to the Lady Broncs about believing in themselves under adversity.
“I’ve told them when things are going wrong, to look at each other as teammates and believe you can come back,’’ Turney said. “It’s something we have always had to fight through.’’
Davis was playing her first game after suffering a concussion against Mulhall-Orlando in the consolation finals of the Pond Creek-Hunter Tournament Dec. 8.
“That was amazing,’’ Turney said.
She had scored 26 points in a 41-37 win over Medford in the Pond Creek-Hunter consolation semifinals.
The Lady Broncs had beaten Mulhall-Orlando 41-37 Monday in a rematch at Kremlin without Davis.
“The other girls stepped up big time,’’ Turney said. “I think playing a few games without Katie might have helped the others girls, because they had to handle the ball and shoot the ball. The other girls have matured a lot to step into those roles.’’
Freshman Mary Mitchell matched her season high with 18 points against Covington-Douglas. Her play in the first half kept the Lady Broncs in the game, Turney said.
“She’s definitely improving,’’ Turney said. “She’s a hard worker and gives 110 percent. She’s usually in foul trouble; that’s something we have to work on. I’m excited to see where she’s going the rest of her career.’’
The Lady Broncs have had some hard knocks this season. Four of their losses have come against top 10 teams — No. 4 Burlington (62-35), No. 7 Timberlake (85-26) and No. 9 Deer Creek-Lamont twice (60-17 and 64-16 Friday).
Two of the Lady Broncs’ wins have come after the DCLA losses.
“That made me so proud,’’ Turney said. “From the first game, we have not only improved basketball-wise, but we’re developing unity. It’s a neat experience to watch them grow as a team and individuals.’’
Others seen significant time are junior Karlee Bittle, junior Hannah Wuerflein, sophomore Shay Regier and junior Ryan Voth. There are no seniors.
“A lot of our experience is coming from playing games,’’ Turney said. “We’re learning through those.’’
Turney, the daughter of the legendary husband-and-wife coaching team of Randy and Robyn Turney, is having to learn to be patient. She was accustomed to winning, playing for her dad at both Medford and Cherokee.
“I’m learning,’’ she said. “Sometimes I ask myself ‘Why are they doing this or that?’ Sometimes, you have to take a step back and try to stay positive and offer constructive criticism.’’
She had to change the mindset of the program. Most of Kremlin-Hillsdale’s losses a year ago were by large margins. Turney doesn’t believe in morale victories. She is seeing some change there.
“We have had some tough losses (53-45, Ringwood and 31-28, Mulhall-Orlando),’’ she said. “We have to learn from those losses.
“I can take a loss if they work hard and play with some pride and heart ... but you can’t be satisfied. You have to have that desire to win. It was good to see the girls upset after a loss. You just have to learn from it and bounce back.’’
That’s why the Covington-Douglas win was so big.
“It proved to the girls they can get down, but they have a chance to come back and win if they fight hard enough,’’ Turney said. “It’s showing their hard work pays off. It’s hard to work hard as a player if don’t get a reward for the hard work. They know in close games if they believe in each other and work hard, they can win.’’
The Lady Broncs will play travel to Drummond Tuesday for their final game before the Christmas break. Kremlin-Hillsdale beat the Lady Bulldogs 26-25 last season.