ADAIR, OK —
After a 28-1 season and a berth in the state semifinals in 2013, Adair head girls basketball coach Scott Winfield has his squad focused on a return to the state tournament in 2014.
He’ll have some help in the form of four experienced returning starters.
“You can’t coach that. When you get into the state tournament every year, you know what to expect, you know what to do,” Winfield said. “It’s kind of like an old habit. It’s not new for them, and you can be ahead of the game.”
Senior guard Rendi Rogers, junior guard Kylie Looney, and senior post players Molly Kerr and Bailey Stephens will be joined by freshman Keni Lippe in Winfield’s starting five.
Lippe, a member of the Adair junior high team that went undefeated for three straight seasons, will replace exiting senior All-Stater Raven Campos. Lippe is just one of the freshman joining the high school ranks in 2013-14.
Winfield must also replace his first substitute from 2012-13, Anna Crawford. Winfield said he has a good mix of upper- and underclassmen that can become go-to bench players.
“I’m fortunate in that way (having a group of good young players),” Winfield said. “With them coming off the bench, they can really learn from the older kids."
The Adair girls have parlayed their tradition of success into a berth in the annual Tournament of Champions, which will be played Dec. 26-28. The tournament will feature teams from every classification in the state, so winning will take experience — something Winfield believes the Lady Warriors possess.
”I feel really good because I think we’re experienced. That means a whole lot. Every year in coaching, you hope you can have that older team. It makes it easier, as far as knowing what to do. There’s a lot of stuff you don’t have to teach.”
The Adair boys may lack experience, but depth will key a key in their 2013-14 campaign.
The Warriors lose an All-State player from last season in Brady Bradbury and an All-Region selection in Jordan Fleming, and head boys coach Travis Cannady will try to fill those big shoes with a lot of smaller ones.
“We’ll have a multitude of guys that should be able to score for us,” Cannady said. “We may not have that guy that can go out and score 22 points a game, or 17 points a game, but we’ll have any one of our 15 guys that we will look to for scoring.
“We’ll see if we can’t use our depth to kind of wear some teams out. We’ll be looking for buckets from different individuals on different nights.”
Cannady’s starting group is a work in progress, but he expects seniors Greg Oxford, Taylor Gilmer and Michal Boriack and sophomores Cody Eby and Brock Martin to emerge as the front runners. Last season’s sixth man, junior James Eastin, will be in the mix at the post, as will junior Ty Cannady and freshman BJ Bradbury.
Bradbury and fellow freshman Bo Rogers — the starter and backup at quarterback for the Adair football team — also went unbeaten during their junior high basketball years.
With most of the Warriors on the football team set for a deep run into the playoffs, Cannady only has four players in the gym for most practices now. He joked that they use their practice time “creatively.”
“Basketball has a lot of skills in it. You’ve got to be able to dribble, pass and shoot,” Cannady said. “That’s basically what we work on before we get the rest of the guys from football.
“Our football team does a great job. Last year our kids got beat [in the football playoffs] on Friday, we practiced Sunday and Monday and played a basketball game Tuesday. This year, I hope they make a big run, and we’ll adjust our schedule. We want our kids playing all the sports they can.”
Cannady said one of the first games of the year, at Chouteau Dec. 5, will be one the Warriors want to win badly.
The Jan. 17 game against Inola will be a good measuring stick for the team. “They’re going to be a really good 4A team,” Cannady said. “Probably top 10 in 4A. That game will really let us see where we’re at.”
Both Adair squads will host the Adair Invitational Dec. 9-14 and hit the road for the Pryor Invitational Jan. 20-25.
See the ScoreCard on Page 2B for Adair's full 2013-14 schedule.