Capobianco: Guard play dominates local hoops

Enid’s Jerra Willams shoots against Lawton Ike last Saturday. Williams and the Plainsmen host Lawton for homecoming tonight. (Billy Hefton / Enid News & Eagle)

 There’s a commonality that runs through the three local boys basketball teams in Enid. 

As it will be evident in Enid’s homecoming matchup against the No. 16 Lawton Wolverines starting at 6 tonight, the play of the Plainsmen guards is paramount to any amount of possible success.

The Plainsmen went into this season without last year’s starting center Shane Diduik, who transferred to Norman High School over the summer. Compound that with the loss of Austin Whitehead, this year’s starting center has left senior guards Tyler Johnson and Orion Tafoya to their own devices.

That hasn’t been necessarily a bad thing for their connection.

“We’ve been close since freshman year but this year put us over the hump,” Tafoya said.

“This year got us more connected because there were two other people that we played with before,” Johnson said. “Now it’s just us two doing what we got to do.”

The Plainsmen heavily depended on the shooting success of these two guards and rightfully so. It’s no wonder when asked about their best memories as their high school careers soon come to a close they responded with “getting buckets.”

There’s also been room for more guards to contribute on the Plainsmen, including junior Jerra Williams, who has shown much improvement throughout the season.

“I think he’s gotten a lot better and that’s something we want Jerra to do,” Plainsmen head coach Kyle Hilterbran said. “We want him to shoot the ball when he’s open. We want him to penetrate and create (shots) for others and he’s got to continue to do that. When he’s creating, he makes it hard on everybody else, and it also opens up for some of our guys down low for easy buckets.”

Like the Plainsmen, the Oklahoma Bible Academy Trojans are made up of the guard trio of senior Hunter Grimm, junior Judd Minx and sophomore William Price. Grimm and Minx have proven to be an exciting, energy- filled combo in the backcourt.

“Hunter is a great athlete,” OBA head coach Alan Ford said in December. “He’s been a player for us last year. He makes big plays when it matters.”

Price has seen an exponential increase in playing time this year and it’s paid off in ways where he sometimes either was the leading scorer or the second-leading scorer.

“He got to play a bunch coming off the bench as a freshman last year and the experience level that he’s gotten from that has really helped him this year,” Ford said. “He’s developed into one of our leading scorers.”

The Trojans have a chance to match last year’s win total of nine with a home win tonight over Okeene. OBA will take on Chisholm in the final game of the regular season.

The Longhorns had a good season last year with a moderate run in the playoffs behind the Grebe brothers of Tommy and Scott.

Tommy moved on to East Central University, and Scott was left to take over his older brother’s position of point guard. Grebe said in January that the position switch was difficult at first because of the lack of experience, but his work over the summer paid off, as he is the Longhorns’ leading scorer.

Grebe gets plenty of help in the frontcourt in the rebounding abilities in senior Colton Wichert and sophomore Noah Hann, which makes the difference in most of the Longhorns’ victories. 

Grebe also said that February is the month for the Longhorns, saying that, “we’ll be where we need to be.” That will start tonight with a road matchup with 3A No. 14 Oklahoma Christian School followed by a slate of evenly matched opponents.

These three teams will only go as far as their guards can take them. 

Capobianco is sports reporter for the News & Eagle. He can be reached at

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