, Muskogee, OK


January 3, 2014

Prep basketball notebook


GAINING EXPERIENCE – With just one returning starter back, the Class 4A No. 6 Fort Gibson Tigers have been impressive early on getting off to a 4-1 start in the Verdigris Valley Conference. Tonight’s second-half opener may prove to be a significant task against undefeated 4A No. 16 Locust Grove.

“The more we play, the better we will be,” said FGHS head coach Gary Hendrix. “We have been playing 7-8 players and we are in good shape.”

Jordon London is the lone returning starter for the Tigers, who have shot the ball well from the field but need more consistency on the boards, Hendrix said.  During the break, Fort Gibson held several scrimmages against alumni and Checotah.

DOING WHAT THEY DO – The motto for Checotah this season is “Do What We Do,” and that is just what head coach Jason Dowdy wants his team to continue after a  3-1 start to the season.

“Our strength is our players, we have great depth. We have to go out and be disciplined,” Dowdy said.

The Wildcats spent the holiday break scrimmaging Fort Gibson, Seminole and Bethel. Dowdy said his team has been gearing up for rival Eufaula tonight with conditioning and working on finishing out the game.

“Last year after the break, we broke down defensively,” he said.

CHANGING APPEARANCE – The Eufaula Ironheads will have a brand new floor to play on going in to the second half of the season. Eufaula looks to improve on their 3-1 start Friday against rival Checotah.

“We were off until the day after Christmas while the new floor was installed,” said head coach Bradley Campbell. “We scrimmaged Prague, Oktaha, Henryetta, and Roland.”

Coach Campbell has been impressed at the break with front-court play from Daxton Williams and Gage Durrett. “We expected to be a guard-oriented team but have turned into an inside team,” he said. “We need to get better overall guard play and shoot better from the perimeter.”

GAINING TRUST – The Wagoner Bulldogs got off to a shaky start at 1-2 but coming out of the break hope to have more contributions from four football players who came out late. Wagoner faces Catoosa at home today.

One of those Wagoner coach Jason Giddens is counting on most is 6-foot-2 Anthony Ashley.

“We need more minutes from him. He’s getting in better basketball shape. He started two of them but just hasn’t gotten the minutes I’m expecting and needing.”

Giddens sees the team jelling as the season resumes.

“We got better as we went along,” said Giddens. “We are a young team, but we have kept our composure and have played well so far and defensively, we’ll trust each other more.”

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