, Muskogee, OK

June 4, 2013

Full summer helps chemistry for Roughers, coach

By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor

— Josh Berry didn’t have this opportunity last summer.

Berry didn’t get hired until Aug. 5 to take over the Muskogee High boys basketball program and so was forced into his first year minus a full off-season.

So far in 2013, he’s had plenty to appreciate.

“You can really tell a difference from the end of the year to now on how much more skilled and physical they’ve become,” he said. “Just the additional time together in the gym, you can see it’s paid off. They really understand more of what I want from them and they’re playing a lot harder.”

His team went 5-2 in a team camp at the University of Tulsa last week, going 5-2. The Roughers beat Edison, Mustang, Kansas City (Kan.) Wyandotte, Victory Christian and Broken Arrow and lost to Edmond Memorial and  Fort Smith (Ark.) Northside.

Berry didn’t keep a book but saw his team emerge in some clutch situations in the games which were played in a pair of 20-minute halves.

Six-foot-5 center Tramal Ivy had two game-winning baskets in the final seconds against Victory Christian and Wyandotte and guard David Beasley had another against Mustang.

“We were resilient,” he said. “Every game we had was a five-point game in the last two minutes. Even against Edmond Memorial, when we were down 18-2 we got within four at the end. A couple of those teams are going to be major contenders in 6A and I think we showed up well against them.”

Berry also liked the play of his junior-to-be group — Cantrell Ashley, Lavare Reed and Aaron Givens. Forward Anthony King, who with Beasley and King are the seniors who averaged in double figures last season scoring-wise, “had a good outing,” Berry said.

Quintahj Cherry, Tavian Davis, Roger Lewis and Matthew Maxwell, all sophomores, are also coming along.

“Having them out here makes all the difference,” Beasley said. “Last year I played AAU ball during the summer to stay in game shape but we really didn’t have any team work and so there wasn’t any getting used to the younger guys.

“We’re got chemistry now.”

Cherry, Davis, Maxwell, Ivy and King are doing it while juggling time in football — where they’ll return to TU this week for a football camp.

“They’ve all been working with both groups,” Beasley said. “We’ll be in the gym at 7:30 or 8.”

The Roughers are in the Oral Roberts team camp June 20.