Warriors looking to put first-game loss behind them

Muskogee High School graduate Kamara Stancle, left, talks with coach Gena Maxwell prior to start of the Oklahoma Warriors' practice in the Muskogee Civic Center on Wednesday. Stancle, now 42 years old and a 1995 MHS graduate, wanted to play again and "get back in competition."

Dametria Dawson calls it "knocking off the cobwebs."

That's how the former Bacone College standout summed up the first game for the Oklahoma Warriors, Muskogee's entrant into the Women's Minor League Basketball Association. The Warriors lost to Topeka, Kan. Shock 72-65 this past Sunday.

"We're getting back into the groove," Dawson said. "We've got the potential to do something good."

Gena Maxwell, the Warriors' coach, also sees that potential. She's learning just like the players and going to experiment with a taller lineup for their games Saturday and Sunday in San Antonio.

"We're going to start a little bigger team than we did last weekend," Maxwell said. "I believe the other teams will have a hard time guarding our post girls as they move around the arc and inside. That's going to benefit us.

"The dedication on this team is definitely there. As long as they keep up that drive and passion, Muskogee is going to have something to look forward to every weekend."

One of the players who will get more playing time this weekend is former Muskogee standout Kamara Stancle. Currently the ninth grade head coach at her alma mater, Stancle looks forward to being back on the court.

"I love that something like this came to my hometown," the former Connors State and University of Arkansas standout said. "It was a good opportunity to get back into competition and play for my hometown again. I'm anxious but I'm also humble about the experience."

Maxwell is happy to have Stancle on the team.

"She had messaged me online one day about being part of the practice squad but I saw how she interacted with the other girls," the coach said. "She's a good fit for us right now and we added her to the team."

The Warriors, though, are still without former Sequoyah High School standouts and sisters Angel Goodrich and Nikki Lewis. They are still battling injuries, Maxwell said.

"We don't know how long Nikki will be out with her knee," Maxwell said. "Angel was on our injured reserve list last week with her toe. She's still feeling things out to see if this will be a good fit with her schedule."

The Warriors play the Dallas Assist and San Antonio on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, in San Antonio. Tip off for both games is 3 p.m.

After this weekend, the Warriors will play their next three games at the Muskogee Civic Center, starting with 7 p.m. July 6 against Georgia.

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