MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

March 3, 2014

Hilldale boys coach putting accent on program

(Continued)

FGHS girls want to

go one rung further

The Lady Tigers are looking to build off the success of the 2013 team that advanced to the Class 4A championship match, losing to now three-time defending championship Verdigris in the final.

“We reached a level that had never been reached before,” said Fort Gibson coach Jaime Snyder. “We don’t have the mentality of being a one-shot wonder. We have the mentality of if we did it last year, we can do it again.”

Fort Gibson lost five starters because of graduation from last year’s team but have plenty returning that will make the Lady Tigers just as formidable an opponent as they were in 2013, including the top two scorers from last year in Brooke Benham and Jordan Raynor, the 2013 All-Phoenix Player of the Year.

“We also have Gabby Escamillia (Newcomer of the Year), Shaye Hatchette, Sanya Januszewski and Shelby Nichols returning,” Snyder said. “Right now in goal we’ve got a battle going for goalkeeper between sophomore Jayme Hayes and senior Breanna Moore. Mainly it’s because Jayme is still in basketball so I really can’t make that decision quite yet.”

The strength of the last year’s team was speed and that is once again the strength of this team.

“We lost some very good foot-skill players but our speed is still back,” Snyder said. “So I think that will be our biggest advantage. And these girls have played together for a long time between club ball and school ball.”

While some coaches try not to compare one year to another, for Snyder it is inevitable.

“Like it or not, we do compare where we are this year as to this time last year,” she said. “They’re two different teams, of course, with different players. But our preparation is the same. I feel like these girls have a different mentality and believe they are the team to beat.”

Other teams to watch

Fort Gibson boys

The Tigers fell one game short of the girls team, losing in the Class 4A semifinals to Santa Fe South.

Leading the Tigers will be forward Zach Cobler, the 2013 Offensive Player of the Year, who finished with 12 goals and seven assists, and goalkeeper Daniel Mielnik, the Defensive Player of the Year.

Wagoner girls

The Lady Bulldogs look to challenge Fort Gibson for supremacy in the area. Wagoner fell to the Lady Tigers in the first round of the playoffs after ousting Fort Gibson in 2012 postseason.

Tahlequah boys

The Tigers were ousted by Tulsa East Central in the opening round of last year’s Class 5A playoffs but have plenty of ammo to make a deeper run in this year’s postseason.

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