The second half of the high school basketball season gets under way this coming weekend and the teams from Ryan and Waurika are looking to improve over the first few weeks of the 2019 season.
Waurika will take the court first in 2019 with a Friday doubleheader at Empire. Waurika returns to action on Tuesday (January 8) as the Eagles and Lady Eagles will host Central High.
On the following weekend, the Waurika teams will be competing in the Black Diamond Invitational at Rush Springs. The Lady Eagles face Sterling at 1:30 p.m., while the Eagles will play Roff at 3 p.m. Both games are Thursday, January 10.
Ryan will wait until Monday, January 7 to get back into action. The Cowboys and Cowgirls will travel to Empire and then the following night will return to Raymon West Court to host Big Pasture.
The two girls’ teams from Ryan and Waurika have managed winning records in the first part of the season, while the Cowboys and Eagles have struggled a bit.
The Lady Eagles will take an 8-3 record into 2019 and have already surpassed last season’s win total of six. Coach Kalee Baxter’s squad won three of its last five games before the Christmas break.
Despite the winning record, the Lady Eagles have room for improvement as they maneuver through the remainder of the regular season and prepare for the post season.
A stern test awaits the Lady Eagles when they return to the court against Empire as the Lady Bulldogs are 8-1 on the season and ranked 19th in Class A.
The next two opponents will provide good opportunities for wins as Central High sports a 3-7 mark and Sterling is 6-5.
“The beginning of our season has been very successful and we are proud of the momentum the girls have had,” said Baxter.
“The second half of our season always consists of some pretty challenging teams. We are hoping to continue to improve and we are ready to face those challenges head on,” said the second-year Lady Eagle mentor.
Madison Roberson has been the pace setter for the Lady Eagles on the offensive end of the court as she has been the leading scorer in all but one of the Waurika games this season.
“We have grown tremendously, but our growth isn’t finished yet,” added Baxter in reflecting on the first part of the season.
The Waurika boys have had somewhat of a difficult time making the adjustment from an extended football season. Most of the contributors to the Eagle roundball squad were also major contributors in the Eagles’ run to the quarterfinals in football.
Waurika has a 3-7 record heading into the 2019 portion of the season.
Coach Joe Masoner’s squad has an excellent chance to improve that mark in the first couple of contest of 2019 as Empire and Central High both hold 3-6 records at the holiday break.
In the Eagles’ seven losses, it has been the inability to score that has hampered the squad.
But, while the Eagles have not seen the success that would have liked, they are just one win away from equaling has season’s total of four victories.
Aaron Nikta has been the primary scorer for the Eagles, but Kevin Garcia, Cache Arellano and Nick Alvarado have also shown the ability to score.
The Eagles will have a tough test in the first round of the Black Diamond Tournament as they will face Roff, the 20th-ranked team in Class A. The Tigers have an 8-5 mark heading into the 2019 portion of the schedule, but have faced a number of ranked teams.
At Ryan, the basketball season has gotten off to a difficult start as construction on the gym has hampered practice time. However, the work on the gym will not continue until have the home portion of the season has been completed.
The Cowgirls entered 2019 with a 6-5 record and won three of the last five contests before Christmas.
In the first game against Empire, the Cowgirls will take on Class A’s 19th-ranked Lady Bulldogs. Empire had an 8-1 mark before Christmas.
The difficult schedule will not let up for the Cowgirls as they will return to the court the following night to host Big Pasture. The Lady Rangers are 10-3 and ranked 15th in Class B.
The Cowgirls have seen some improvement. They are only two wins away from equaling the total number of wins in 2018.
Lily York has been the offensive spark plug for Coach Steve Spangler’s crew, but Samantha Good and Juliet Spangler are also averaging over 10 points a game.
“If we can have those three girls score consistently with each other, we will have a chance to be pretty good,” noted Spangler.
“It has been a month of ups and downs in the early part of the season and we have had too many games where we can’t put the ball in the basket,” said Spangler.
“We are working to improve our ability to shoot with consistency and to maintain our defensive intensity,” said Spangler when asked about what the squad has been working on during the holiday break from the schedule.
“We come back to face our two hardest games of the season against Empire and Big Pasture and if we can gain confidence in those games the rest of the schedule should give us a chance to compete,” Spangler said.
The Cowboys under first-year coach Austin Masoner have managed a 4-7 mark before the holidays. Ryan closed out December with losses in four of its final five games.
However, the Cowboys are just one win away from equaling the total number of wins in 2018.
For the Cowboys the one thing that has proved to be a challenge is putting the ball in the basket. In nearly every contest, the Cowboys have not managed to shoot better than 30% from the field. And, free throw shooting has not been a whole lot better.
Ryan scored 51 points in victories over Sacred Heart, Texas and Temple, but in seven of the 11 games this season the Cowboys have not managed to break the 40-point mark.
The Cowboys will try to get on the winning track as they travel to Empire for the first game in 2019. The Bulldogs are 3-6 on the year, so if the Cowboys can improve on their shooting, they would have an excellent chance to pick up a win.
The next night the Cowboys will face probably their toughest challenge of the season as Big Pasture comes to town. The Rangers are 12-1 and are ranked sixth in Class B.
Waurika will also look forward to competing in the Stephens County Tournament at Central High later in January.
The Cowboys’ final tournament action before the playoffs will be at the Bulldog Bash hosted by Healdton later in the month.